Friday, 24 February 2012

How Prince Charles has always been king of wardrobe recycling

Take those old shoes he wore to walk around Hereford Cathedral this week. They cost around £2,500 and were made for him by Lobb of St James's - not, as many sartorial commentators have noted, by John Lobb, Bootmaker of Jermyn Street.
There is a subtle, but crucial difference. John Lobb, Bootmaker is a Paris based, Hermes-owned footwear brand that has branches all over the place. They charge a mere £400 per pair.
Lobb, on the other hand, is a bespoke-only operation in the quiet end of St James's.
This outfitter has made footwear for Aristotle Onassis, Roald Dahl, Cole Porter, Lord Olivier, Harold Macmillan and Ted Heath.
To make a pair of shoes is a lovingly laborious process involving a hand-made wooden last, eight pieces of leather and expert stitching techniques. You don't throw a pair of Lobb shoes out because they get old.
You keep them, cherish them, have them mended, feed them with finest saddle soap and then get buried in them.

Charles clearly loves wearing clothes with provenance, with a bit of a story to tell. 


  1. The shoes have lived out their natural life and they look lacquered rather than polished. I am certain that prince Charles can retire this pair.

  2. Hi Shoe Aficionado,

    Thanks for the comment.
    I was thinking the same when I first saw the article, that the shoes should be retired, but at second thought, had to reconsider that view. In my humble opinion, I think HRH is sending a few messages to all of us intentionally or not.

    One - do not buy to throw away. Recycling is a good thing.
    Two - buy classical and fashionable, items you can reuse again & again regardless of the fashion.

    The shoes have been mended, look at the repairing just below the laces before the cap toe. I suppose there was a hole on the spot and HRH took them back to Lobb to repair the damage caused by ageing.

    How many shoes do you think HRH has? Probably many bespoke shoes, but it seems that this particular pair is a favourite, therefore the repairing and getting the hole mended.

    I am not sure Lobb will be pleased to have one of their items lacquered. As you know lacquered leather is a way of hiding abnormalities on very cheap leather.

    I think HRH had some household servant do the polishing or Lobb, I will say the latter to show that their products are worth every penny spent.

    Would you retire a favourite item, if it still fits and is good looking regardless of the age?

    Let us hope HRH reads this and considers retiring the pair.

  3. Hi,
    Saddle soap is used for cleaning off the old polish,then use a lanolin or beeswax based polish