The Shoe Snob Blog

September 30, 2013

Written by , Posted in News

Stefano Bemer at New & Lingwood (Long Post)

Stefano Bemer shoes

As many of you have probably read, the shoes behind the Stefano Bemer brand have been implemented into the shop of New & Lingwood on Jermyn St. in London. This means that you are now able to go there and either purchase RTW shoes or place an order for MTO. To enquire for the possibility of bespoke, I believe that one would have to wait until the Bemer team make their bi-annual trip. As this recent information has been streaming across the internet as of late, I figured that I too would put my two cents in to talk about it and what it means for all of you that might not know much about Stefano Bemer’s history or product. As someone who worked under Stefano Bemer when he was alive and actually got to spend a lot of time with his product, I hope to shed some unbiased light on what this means for all of you potential customers and the details of his product.

Stefano Bemer Shoes 1 Stefano Bemer Shoes 2

One of my all time favorite shoes and my inspiration for the combination of black and red

One of my all time favorite shoes and my inspiration for the combination of black and red

Stefano Bemer Shoes 3 Stefano Bemer Shoes 4 Stefano Bemer Shoes two toned oxford 1 Stefano Bemer Shoes 5 Stefano Bemer Shoes 6 Stefano Bemer Shoes 7 Stefano Bemer Shoes Sole

While things didn’t necessarily pan out like I had originally intended in terms of my time with Stefano (although in the long run it all happened for a reason), and therefore left with a bit of disappointment, the only thing that I felt real regret towards was the fact that I was not able to help spread the word (more so) with regards to the greatness of his footwear. That was part of our exchange: he helped me learn shoemaking and took me under his wing in turn for me helping to grow his brand awareness to the American market (by wholeselling his product to shops). But being there in the beginning of the recession of 2009, it sure was not easy to convince buyers to purchase a luxury priced product (of little brand worth) at a time when they could barely sell their own stock…. But as things have changed and new backing is involved, I feel that what I could not do then, will hopefully be achieved now by what seems to be a team that cares about maintaining the integrity of the product that Mr. Bemer put so much of his life into. But as much in life would teach us, only time will tell.

Stefano Bemer single monk strap

The shoe that inspired my whole being as a shoe snob, my brand, my identity...I owe it all to Stefano and this shoe....

The shoe that inspired my whole being as a shoe snob, my brand, my identity…I owe it all to Stefano and this shoe….

Proper Russian Reindeer...what a beautiful model!!

Proper Russian Reindeer…what a beautiful model!!

Stefano Bemer bespoke sole waist Stefano Bemer balmoral oxford brogue Stefano Bemer shoes 8 Stefano Bemer medallion Stefano Bemer saddle shoe black Stefano Bemer two toned oxford Stefano Bemer saddle shoe 1 Stefano Bemer shoes

Now to the nitty gritty. So, N&L has become Bemer’s first new stockist since the acquisition and I had a little chat with the new owner of Bemer’s, Mr. Tommaso Melani, to understand what was going on and how the future looked. That being the shoes are made nearly in the exact same fashion as when Stefano was still alive. That being all of the materials used (lasts & leather) were sourced and created by Stefano (of which I am sure that they are still using, with the possibility of a few updated lasts. The patterns are then made and cut in-house but then sent out of house to a small factory nearby, whereby the Bemer team work very closely with a team of their own appointed artisans that then last and welt the shoes by hand before putting the sole on by machine and then finishing the shoes by hand.

This means that unlike most RTW shoes, you get an actual arch stiffener that provides a support that a machine lasted shoe will never have and make it about 10 times more supportive and thus comfortable. You get all of this for £1250. That being, you get nearly a fully handmade shoe (not to be confused with bespoke). It’s not cheap, but when you compare to the likes of the Anthony Cleverley line, G&G Deco, Saint Crispins, JL’s top line (whatever it is called, Prestige I think) or EG Top Drawer, who are all around the same price, but with less handwork (with the exception of Saint Crispins’ – who are fully handmade), it is a fair price for today’s rates. The shoes are not as clean and refined in their finishing as some of these others, but that air of handmade ‘feel and look’ stenches the room when you are around them and I know that from first hand knowledge that they feel like a million bucks and last a lifetime! And what’s even more impressive is that this is the same price for MTO, no up-charge added, with a 8-10 week turnaround.

Stefano Bemer balmoral boot Stefano Bemer chukka boot Stefano Bemer two toned balmoral oxford Stefano Bemer two toned balmoral oxford 1 Stefano Bemer two toned balmoral oxford 2 Stefano Bemer black darby Stefano Bemer black darby Stefano Bemer black darby 3 Stefano Bemer black darby 4 Stefano Bemer suede tassel loafer Stefano Bemer Shoes Stefano Bemer Shoes 10

What I always loved about Stefano was the fact that he was doing flair in color, linings and piping long before anyone else. But no one knew about it. His skill in coordination of color and style was second to none and hopefully this talent will now be shown to the world. While many of you will undoubtedly be skeptical to the price, if you are London based, do yourself a favor and go see them in the flesh and try them on. You will then understand. To all those that can’t make it to London, well hopefully you will enjoy what you see here and ever more so, hopefully the new Bemer team will get to a stockist near you.

  • Adam Jones

    Some of those models are absolutely stunning. The brown/ tan saddle is one of the most amazing ever. It is such a bold shoe but is still subtle. I don’t think there is one colour combo on any of the two tones that doesn’t work.

    • TheShoeSnob

      quite right!! Now you see where a lot of my inspiration comes from. I used to just sit and stare at them and soak up their greatness, imprinting into my head his ability to mend classically elegant with bold and daring but still be tasteful

  • Anand Shah

    Justin, could you guide to a post about construction or point out what you meant about sole being machine stiched? I understand what hand welted is but not so clear on what they do with the machine?

    • TheShoeSnob

      sole being machine stitched means that a machine was used to stitch the sole onto the shoe/welt, if you search shoes: part 1 construction. you will see more…

  • Jason Hogg

    Hi Justin, how common is Russian reindeer these days? I read that it was found on a ship wreck, is it still that leather or does someone produce it? Great article.

    • TheShoeSnob

      that’s a good question, because it would appear that that so called ship that they discovered way back when had enough of it to supply for years later….no one produces it though…apparently it is slowly being used up…

  • mobeme

    You mention that Bemer do an arch stiffener providing support that a machine
    lasted shoe would never have and which makes it more supportive and
    comfortable. Is an arch stiffener a piece of wood that is placed between the
    sole and insole? Why does that make it more comfortable and would higher-end RTW manufacturers not include an arch stiffener in their RTW? Many thanks.

    • TheShoeSnob

      an arch stiffener is a piece of leather between the upper leather and lining that provides support underneath the arch. It is an extension of the heel counter. Machine lasted RTW shoes dont offer this as one needs to last by hand to keep in in place

  • Jose Javier Lopez

    Hi Justin,

    I see Stefano Bemer does an educational program for Handcrafted shoes. Have you heard of it? Do you know who are the professors?…I am about to roll out to the Accademia Riaci (8 weeks course) starting in Abril the 7th, but seeing this I am not sure though.

    Is good to see how you are growing…

    Thanks for your huge help.

    Regards,

    José

    • TheShoeSnob

      No they don’t Jose….they do take apprentices sometime, but don’t have an actual “course”…you would be well to take the course at Riaci and then with that knowledge, go knock on their door for a further apprenticeship…