The Shoe Snob Blog

August 1, 2011

Written by , Posted in News, Patina Artists

Paris Part 1: Septieme Largeur Store Visit

On a relatively quiet street (Rue Saint-Lazare), just 10 minutes walking distance from the famous Galleries Lafayette and a spitting’s distance from Saint Trinite’ square, lies the wonderfully simplistic shop of Septieme Largeur. As I have become such a huge fan of the brand, since their introduction on my blog, it was definitely a place that I needed to visit, get some product from, and do a nice write up for all of you. That being, please enjoy what is about to come….

There are several things that set apart Septieme Largeur from the rest of the shoe brands of the world. One is that they offer a patina service for the shoes that they sell. So if you see a model that you would like but would rather have it in a non-conventional color, or maybe just one that they do not offer, it is not a problem, as they will do it for you for just an extra 50 Euros. Below, you can see an example of how a customer purchased a shoe in natural and gave it an aubergine patina. The other aspect that sets them apart would be their Allen Edmonds type pricing, in which they offer good quality leather and goodyear welted construction from a price range that starts at 245 Euros and ends at 295 Euros. It’s not the lowest of the price scale but for what you get, leather and construction wise, it’s a great deal for sure!

I was not able to be there for the beginning process of the patina which involves the application of the dyes to the shoe, but you can see that once it’s on, they use this special brush machine to add the burnishing (dark areas) to the shoe. You will notice that in the top right picture (in this set of 6 above) has a before (left) and after (right), from the use of the machine and the special waxes that they use. And while you may think that a patina must be done by hand, surely it does not as you can see. The wax used on the brush burns onto the leather from it’s friction, thus making it stick into the pores of the leather, remaining there as if it was the dye itself.

From this point on, as you will see above, they will add the shine to the shoe, in order to enhance the patina. I learned something new by going there, as they told me that using whiskey is actually better for the shine, due to the fact that the alcohol content will keep the liquid from becoming too humid (as water apparently seems to), which in turn makes it so the leather will dry quicker and absorb the polish better. I better go get a bottle of whiskey to keep at my shine stand!


As you can clearly see, there were many beautiful shoes there, and I was literally like at kid in a candy shop, wanting to have everything there. I also really liked the simplicity of the store, not having any real fluff going on, just the shoes, some seats and the accessories. It was just how a shop should be: clean, simple and straight to the point. Now that I think about it, the only form of fluff, was actually something that corresponded to the shop and it’s products and that was a bespoke shoe model, as well as some lasts, that were dated back to the early 1900’s, and the model (shown below) had never had it’s last taken out. This model, may I say, was absolutely exquisite! It was literally perfect, without any blemishes and the straightest lines I have ever seen.

But the real treat was this prototype that they had, which was the ‘Miro’ loafer with a forest green patina, pictured below. The only problem is that my camera could simply not capture the color in the way that my eyes were seeing it, due to my flash (or maybe because it only cost 90 GBP, which might be considered on the cheap quality side!). I must say that it was one of the nicest patinas that I have ever seen as it was simple yet extremely bold in coloring. Not that it was bright or ostentatious, but the green was magnificent and there was no mistaking what it was. It was lovely, and I will aspire to have it…..

Well, I hope that you have enjoyed the post. Going to Septieme Largeur and meeting the lovely people there was a pleasure and I will definitely recommend that if you are ever in Paris, and have some spare time, make a point of dropping by, as I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed, and may even leave a few euros lighter. Stay tuned for my future posts on Corthay and Paulus Bolten, the patina artist, who made a fine makeover of my shoes!

  • Glad to hear you had a good visit
    i purchased a pair of shoes from the madrid store in April of this year,very good experience until I purchased and paid for a second pair which was being ordered (the miro) and told should get before i headed back to the states in a week.
    We are now in August and no shoes and very very hard time getting a call back or an email response. I called the store in Paris and was told they could not help me.
    Would not recommend the MAdrid store terrible customer service

  • Very interesting post Justin!

    It’s a pity you missed the first part of how they make a patina. I’ve been trying to do them myself, and it seems to me that the hardest part is the decoloring the leather (décapage) without actually damaging it! It would be great to get some more tricks seen as there seems to be very little to find on the internet. Who knows, maybe the bottle of whiskey will come to the rescue one again?

  • Wow! It’s yet another great peek at the french patina! Great post, thank you Justin!
    Did you get a glimpse on what brand of polish they used?

  • Angel – Wow, I am so sorry to hear this. Let me see what I can do. I did tell the President to read this comment to see what he could do. Hopefully he will look into it. That should not happen. Thanks for commenting.

    Louis de Thanhoffer – Yes, de-coloring the leather is indeed the hardest part. You must use bleach or some very strong acetone, but you are right when you say that you run the risk of ruining the shoe. I am no expert myself when it comes to doing this. But I would too love to learn. I think you learn by just doing it, from trial and error, just like how I have learned to shine shoes….

    Otso – No worries Otso, glad that you enjoyed. They brand their own polish, the silver cans that you see in the picture. They used to use Saphir though.

    -Justin, “The Shoe Snob”

  • Justin:
    More error than trial up to now! My technique consists of applying a healthy amount of bleach with a toothbrush, resting for an hour to let the bleach do its thing, then rinsing the shoes thoroughly followed by drying for a day and finally applying some saphir réno. I do this a 2-3 times until I see enough decolouration, and pray to the shoegods that the leather hasn’t been damaged. If you come about any other methods in your French travels, let us know!

    You have an amazing blog, keep up the wonderful work!

  • Louis – Sounds like you are ahead of the crowd. Septieme Largeur, come to think of it, actually don’t strip the shoe, as they have the leather in natural already. But the next time I am there, I will see if I can spend more time with Paulus Bolten and go through the process. Thanks for the kind words.

    -Justin, “The Shoe Snob”