Monday, 16 April 2012

Shoe Patina & Glacage

A reader had a comment on this blog regarding my writing on an old pair of shoes (40+ years) recycled by HRH Prince Charles, comment was "the shoes looked lacquered and HRH needs to retire them".  That sparked an investigation from my side to find out what is the difference between Patina and Glacage.

I found out that bespoke shoemakers from France & Italy (are the true masters of both arts), please see blog on Hom, who is a master of the trade. But besides him there are several other artisans who will do the job on your old shoes or new shoes. If it is an old pair it will be revived to its glory, if a new pair then it will be given that dandy look that will differentiate it from the masses.

When attending to shoe polishing, there are different terms used, waxing, glossing, patina etc and the results are amazing and different. It is an art in itself to get and achieve the desired results whether it is the old style spit shine (gloss), which most of us can do or try to. But when it comes to patina, it is a different ball game.

Patina will look like the below depicted pictures which is different from glossing or spit shine. I suppose there is more work in patina creations as it can involve from two up to multiple colours to reach the desired effect of art.

Patina art:

Glacage (Gloss) work of art: My understanding is that shoe lovers bring their shoes to these artists for a revival, put new life into the leather and bring the shoes to their glory again. Looking at the results, I have to admit, these shoes look great and worth the money spent on the revival, whether it is glossing or patina creating.

Now back to what sparked the investigation, the comment from the reader was "HRH shoes looked as if they were lacquered" and I have to strongly disagree. Why would HRH lacquer a John Lobb bespoke shoe? Ah never mind, just my humble opinion.

Boots revival before and after revival (Gloss)

Shoe before revival and after 

Boot before patina and after 

Photos sourced from Paulus Bolten and Pierre Paul of Talon rouge


  1. It was my comment that started your investigation. I am a loyal follower and a shoe collector as well. I am well aware that the shoes were not lacquered and the patina looked fine. However, there is a time when a shoe should be retired and put to rest after many years of faithful service. Just because an item was loved and cherished, it should not be used for a literal lifetime. it should be given the same respect when it time to put to rest. Even a poor sould as the HRH can afford to have 2 pairs of shoes in his lifetime! his first one belowns in a museum now.

    Regards, Dr. Jamil Zeinab

  2. Hello Mr. Zeinab,

    Thanks for your comment and follow up. I am glad that you follow my blog and pleased to hear that you are a fellow Shoe AristoCat and a collector.

    I do follow the thought that HRH Prince Charles should consider retiring the pair from Lobb after forty some years of service. But none of us knows what affectionate value this pair has to HRH.

    Well, ...maybe it was the pair he was wearing when he first met the Duchess (Lady Camilla) years ago or.....a pair commissioned without the mom's (HRH The Queen) consent, or...... something else, let the imagination loose. One thing we have to admit, is that even Royalties have their favourite piece of artifacts, it be a piece of clothing, shoes, hats etc, which they use year after year. Amazing.

    Due to your comment, I had to find some other Gents in possession of bespoke shoes which have been in service for a long time. And found on the net, an American Gent who is now in his 70's, who had to retire a pair of G.J. Cleverley after 43 years of service. I compared two photos of the shoes (HRH Prince Charles & The American Gent), and came to the conclusion, that I think that pair which HRH has, can still service him for a couple of years from now.

    Best regards
    The Shoe AristoCat