Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Cliff Roberts, a Northampton, bespoke shoemaker

Mr. Clifford Roberts is an English independent, one man operation bespoke shoemaker, from Northampton (England). Mr. Roberts has been in the shoe making industry for decades, employed by one of the Northampton shoemakers.

Mr. Roberts has been making shoes to members of the (Style forum) and as of last year (2011) decided to go solo (independent, working from home) on the bespoke shoe making business project. As of current, Mr. Roberts has two lasts of his own, a chisel-square and a classic round last. Both lasts are elegant, stylish and very English. My favourite one is the chisel-square, as it has some Nikolaus Tuzcek over it.  

Mr. Roberts artistic rendition of the clients desire are well interpreted. I will be ordering more shoes/boots from the honourable gent.  

I am very pleased with his work and I highly recommend his services to all shoe lovers, shoe AristoCats, Shoe Snobs or just simple shoe collectors, who wish to have something special in their shoe wardrobe.

Welcome to Mr. Clifford Roberts.

My first pair of black side gussets on the making, hand work, as you can see.

The below photos were taken by Mr. Robert's wife during the making process.

 The above pair of shoes did not fit well, not Mr. Robert's fault, as I did not supply a last nor did he measure my feet. I just placed an order. A few emails went back and forth in regards to fit and adjustments, and decided to order the below galoshed oxford.

My second pair, black Balmoral two toned oxford (black & grey). The below pair was commissioned for a formal wedding. Mr. Roberts supplied the pair just in time for the wedding. Wonderful, well designed and balanced shoes.
This pair was getting closer, but still a bit of adjustments were needed here and there. Again I stress, it was not Mr. Roberts fault.

 My third pair, brown pebble grain, side gussets. In between the pair above and the below side gusset, Mr. Roberts sent me a trial pair of shoes, then some back and forth mails. We ended up with the correct approach. I left the design to Mr. Roberts, however stated what I wanted, style, pattern and in what kind of leather. A year later, the below beauties came. A very pleasant surprise.

This pair fits like a glove to a hand, so very perfect. I am happy that Mr. Roberts, spent time explaining to me what needed to be adjusted on his original last to produce a last of my own.

I am still working on the colour, I am slowly getting there. The leather is of good quality, and takes a graceful shine. All of the brown pebble photos were taken by me.

 The colour below is closer to the true colour of the shoes, still working on getting the right colour.
Cap-toe in detail
 Back part of the shoe
 The sole work of the shoes
Close up of  the chisel-square, Tuzcek style.

Balmoral boots (sourced from The Styleforum

 A Balmoral on the making

 Black and grey balmoral

 Two-toned (brown on brown) Balmoral boots

 Two-toned (black & grey) Balmoral boots with cap-toe

 Diamond cap Balmoral boots
 A tan Balmoral boot on the making

 An austerity brogue balmoral boot
Mr. Roberts has been working on a buttoned Balmoral boot for about two years for another client, I saw the pictures, beautifully done, my understanding from Mr. Roberts, is that it was time consuming. I can not show the photos of the boots here without the consent of the client and or Mr. Roberts.

All boots sourced from The Styleforum

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Eric Cook English bespoke shoemaker

Erik Cook, old school, English bespoke shoemaker who knew Mr. Nikolaus Tuzcek, is an independent, one man operation bespoke shoemaker. Mr. Cook has no web site, information is scarce about him. He relies on mouth to mouth method of advertising. It is said that it can take up to a year for him to get the shoes done.

"Not cheap or fast but possibly the best.” Luckily Cook's also very kind with his time and explained in detail to this layman what he does. Sourced from Finch's quarterly

I like the design of the two pairs of shoes depicted below, a pity that I can not crawl more information on the gent. 

 A black oxford from Mr. Cook's hand
 A Derby in the making by Mr. Cook
 The sole of Mr. Cook's bespoke shoes

Next time will blog about another independent one man operation bespoke shoemaker. Until then enjoy Mr. Cook's work.

The Ultimate Bespoke Shoemaker Nikolaus Tuczek

The Rolls Royce, the Leornado Da Vinci of shoemaking, Nikolaus Tuczek Ltd were boot and shoe makers who traded from 1853-1970. The company was taken over by John Lobb in 1970.

Quote From Classic shoes for men : "The late, lamented firm of Tuczek of #17 Clifford Street, W1, bespoke society shoemaker, is a legend in the trade among historians and collectors. The importance of this master is only confirmed by the fact that George Cleverley, considered by some to be the finest shoemaker of the late 20th century, began his career with Nikolaus Tuczek in 1920 and remained with the firm 38 years before opening his own workshop. Tuczek’s designs are exceptionally sleek and most often feature his characteristic chiseled toe and elastic side gussets. It can be conjectured that this was Tuczek’s legacy as there is little to compare with the dramatic lasting, the intricate detailing, and the painstaking construction of the Tuczek shoe. But finally it is the overall effect of the design, the harmony of decoration and sculptural form that distinguishes this shoemaker. There is very little to be found from the last half century that possesses the stylistic boldness or charm of this present pair."

I consider Mr. Nikolaus Tuzcek, The "Leonardo Da Vinci" of Bespoke shoemaking, the Grandmaster of all masters, the sculptor above all, a Man that has inspired so many bespoke shoemakers and keeps doing so with his creations which are over a half century or more old in design and style. Mr. Tuczek's creations, are one of a kind and so was the man.

The art works I have seen from Mr.Tuzcek's hand, are quite exceptional, unique, artistic by design, harmonious, innovative and ground breaking. 

The man, the name has become a legend within bespoke shoemaking. In honour of Mr. Nikolaus Tuzcek.

The famous Tuzcek chisel toe
The insole of a Lady's shoe
 The Lady shoe itself
 Brogue slip-ons
 The insole labels from different periods in London 

 The Full Brogue oxford

 Wholecut Adelaide in blue suede

 A monk in suede

A Semi brogue

 A spectator (1)

 Full brogue side gusset with false laces in Lizard

Spectator (2)

Crocodile side gusset

Full brogue in  brown

Lizard Full brogue side gusset slip-on

 Two tier brown Derby

Photos sourced from The Centipede and Engrandepompe