The Shoe Snob Blog

January 7, 2013

Written by , Posted in News

Sticking To What You Know

One of the only Jimmy Choo’s that I like

There seems to be a big trend right now in the style/fashion industry of companies trying to add new categories of product to their existing repertoire. Everyone seems to be doing it now and I wonder just how far it will go? It’s obviously not something new as the Ralph Lauren’s, the Gucci’s, the LV’s and the Ferragamo’s have been doing for ages, but it seems quite different this time around. Less elegant and more flash for the sake of flash. And this new wave all started with Louboutin adding men’s shoes to his collection. Shortly after, Jimmy Choo followed suit, taking it one step further with an actual store dedicated to just that: men’s shoes. Jimmy on the other hand, actually does some decent stuff, but not always…where as for me Louboutin focuses on the extreme, creating shoes that I couldn’t be paid to wear.

all Jimmy Choo’s above….can’t seem to figure out if they want to be classic or fashiony??? Some look good, some really don’t!

Now I have heard that mega women’s shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood is about to do the same launching it this week at London Fashion Week. Then you also have Berluti who did something even more outlandish and added suits to a shoe brand, something that quite boggles me altogether as while the both compliment each other, it’s apples and oranges as far as a company culture and environment go. But hey, this is the world we live in and it would appear that with the amount of brands out there all competing for everyone’s currency, if you don’t come out with the latest and greatest, you are going to be left behind….can’t say that I agree with this ideology, but it seems to be the way it works in the fashion world.

All Louboutin’s above, and this black glittery trainer was the most tasteful….imagine that!

For me, this new wave of men’s shoes by women’s designer brands just seems like a desperate attempt at staying fresh, starting new trends and of course, the fundamental factor: making more money. But I can’t say that it helps to promote the brand’s image. At least not for me it doesn’t. I quite admired Christian Louboutin as a designer for his creativity with the whole red sole thing and thought his women’s shoes were nice (at least they looked good on women). But now that he has done a men’s line, one that for me screams obscene vulgarity, I have lost respect for him and his brand. He has taken the specialness out of it. And because he is a leader in the women’s industry, you are now starting to see his adversaries doing the same thing to hop on the band wagon and not get left behind in the dust. But this wave of action just doesn’t sit well with me. They are just producing rubbish to do so. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the designers, but I do mind creating stuff just to do so, without any real elegant thought or passion put into it. Take Gucci for example. While they are no doubt a mega-designer brand, they still do things tastefully while differentiating themselves from the classic brands, but not stepping into the realm of metal stud vulgarity. There is a difference, yet with this new generation of designers, I don’t feel the passion behind it. They are doing it just to do it, not because they have a passion for men’s shoes.

Berlut’s new look….let’s just hope they don’t lose focus of what made them…the shoes!

I constantly get women asking me if I will do a women’s line in the future and while I am deeply flattered by the notion that they must like my designs to be asking me this, I always tell them no. The reason I do this is because I know that it won’t be good, as I don’t have a passion for women’s shoes and would not want to waste my energies on something that I am not passionate about. That doesn’t mean that I won’t make my men’s designs in women’s sizes, but I would never attempt at designing a women’s pump. And while one might argue that continuing on with the same thing is not growing, I would counter by saying that so long as one always puts passion into his/her product, creates the best value for money possible and maintains a classically elegant style, that growth will always be attainable, especially at our population rate!

  • Alex B

    Now then young man, do calm down. Listen to “gay” Alex B, as I am henceforth to be known:

    The word missing from your otherwise well-observed grammar massacre, is “business”. And business is your new world, so heads up!

    The reason Church’s have so many women’s shoes now, is that there is a market. Someone smart noticed that masculine, traditional shoes – full brogues, penny loafers, country boots and the like – were fashionable with both men and women right now. So who better to exploit that than the traditional men’s makers? Church’s were by no means the only ones. They all dived in and met the demand with pleasure.

    So by the same token, these designers of girly pumps have noticed an increase in the market for expensive men’s shoes: no longer the preserve of effete millionaires and baronets, the quality shoe has become the aspiration of more and more appearance-conscious men. And you know who’s fault that is? It’s yours! Justin “The Shoe Snob” Fitzpatrick. That’s who, mother-fudger.

    The Louboutins and Choos of this world have taken the same point of view as you espouse in this very blog: wouldn’t it be great if men wore better shoes in more imaginative designs? And wouldn’t it be better still if we used our creative nuts to provide them and make some pesos too? They’re just “doing a Justin”!

    The difference, of course, is that they started out doing something else and this is an addition, a diversion. And some of those things are properly nasty. But maybe you should take this as a positive thing: at the end of the day, they’re jumping in to your favourite cause – promoting the idea of men taking more interest in what’s on their feet.

    For what it’s worth, I agree about the Louboutins. Shocking stuff, and in a way it’s a disappointing lack of imagination to take all those elements of girl shoes and cut and paste them. But the Jimmy Choo numbers have been around for a while, and some of them I rather like – original thoughts instead of recycled lady-feet. Even the freaky nude-silhouette-graphic slippers. I’d wear them, and put them right next to a burgundy pair of your prince alberts on my shoe rack.

    So it’s all good, isn’t it? 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Now I know where to go to look like a demon barber from fleet street…

    Marco

  • The demand for this type of footwear is from a smaller segment in the market; one comprised of more “faddish” type individuals whose taste flow with the latest trends and the hottest designers promoted by the retail establishment that stock their merchandise. Yes, an opportunity to serve this segment is a business decision based on some kind of quantifiable data that says they can profit from this add on to their brand. I agree with Justin. They are not in it for their respect and passion for fine shoe making and the art associated with it. It’s all about incremental and widening their market share. Most men on this blog are much more “connesieurs” of fine footwear and the enjoyment of wearing them. No studs for me either.

  • The problem with women designers making men shoes it the very nature of shoes for men and women are different. When women wear heels is puts us on a pedestal it is flashy in the moment. Menswear by its nature is subtle and well crafted A mans relationship is much more personnel. Men have there shoes for much longer and walk more miles in. the design perspective is very different. At least that is my observation as a shoe saleswomen who has sold both mens and womens shoes at boutique and department store.

  • Alex B – Now, don’t get me wrong, business is one thing, and Church’s is this regards has it right, but crap for the sake of money is another thing. They (Church’s) make women’s shoes by their standard of making, a man’s style but in women’s coloring and last sizes. But they don’t go and try to make heels do they?

    I see what you are saying, but I don’t agree with it. Yes, Jimmy Choo does stuff that is more acceptable, using classic patterns and last and making them modern, which is definite more acceptable but still, there are some things that just go overboard, and for me this is not having men care more about their footwear choices. They might as well be wearing a pair of flip flops underneath some jeans…. There is a difference. Designers are creative people yet a lot of this rubbish is not creative it’s just pure commercial and screams “look at me, look at me!!”

    oh, and my prince alberts would eat them while you were asleep!

    Marco – indeed!

    Meredith – very true…very true!

    -Justin

  • Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon. Thanks!

  • Bridal shoes – thanks for the kind words and support!

    -Justin

  • Such a very informatics post, as I have browsed the majority of your posts. But I found this post is almost certainly where I got the most useful information for my research. It is really very interesting to read this particular post. I just would like to say thanks for your great efforts.

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  • Larry

    What do you think about the quality of the men’s Louboutin shoes? I am eyeing a pair from the surrent season. I normally wear English or Italian shoes with a goodyear welt, but noticed these are the internal stitch.