Luxury & Fashion
Aug 1, 2017
STYLE AT YOUR FEET
Whenever we speak of style regarding footwear, we know for sure we will be speaking about British. The British tradition in handmaking shoes is well known and the country is house for some of the world's best shoemakers.
Only, in this case, we will speak about a French man who lives and works in London. Allan Baudoin was born and raised in Paris, France. Originally, he studied and trained in computer science and he even got to work in strategy and marketing for the computer giant, Apple.
But the wish to do something a lot more creative led him to London, in 2007, to work at the video games company Gameloft. That didn't work for him either, so he started a tech startup, where he worked for a few months.
He tells the rest of the tale himself: "I met this 62-year-old shoemaker who'd just opened a little repair workshop in Dalston. Since I was a kid, I've always wanted to know how shoes were made, so when I met this guy, I asked him to tell me everything about it. After a week or two, I decided that's what I wanted to do: make shoes".
As a result of this partnership, along with the financier and ex-racing driver Bo van Langeveld, Baudoin & Lange was born.
Bo was tired of suffering in his obligatory formal office shoes and, a casual encounter with Allan led him to present the challenge of solving this contemporary need.
Allan explains what came up next: "In the beginning I'd deal with the business side and the old guy would deal with the making side. It's a lot more complicated than now. I was just trying to figure out how it all worked. Then I got more experience and people began to work for me. The kind of shoe I make today – the made to measure shoes – is the product of four or five really specialised people".
Today, the company uses exclusively the finest unfinished calf leather from Tanneries du Puy, Haute-Loire, France – the same supplier for Aubercy, John Lobb, Hermès and Chanel.
The skins used in the construction of the shoes are carefully selected and hand-picked from the tannery for their outstanding suppleness. Plus, every shoe is lined with vegetable tanned natural calf leather, breathable and softer than skin.
Every single skin is hand-dyed at the atelier, which allow an infinite colour palette and greater finish.
The source of the soles is a century old family-run tannery in Trier, Germany: J.R. Rendenbach Lederfabrik. It is one of the last remaining traditional oak bark tanneries in the world.
The oak bark ground-tanning is an extremely gentle process taking place in old, three-metre deep oak lined pits. During the process, tannin is absorbed into the hide binding and conserving its protein-structures. Nature supplies the main ingredients for the tan mixture: primarily oak, spruce and mimosa bark as well as fruit essence. This process turns these soles the most robust, waterproof and natural breathable soles in the world.
The prices of these magnificent, bespoke, handmade, made to measure shoes, vary from 700 British pounds, up to 3400 pounds, and the customer must pay 2/3 of the final price to start the production of the shoes. The remaining amount will be paid on delivery.
One can say these are not sympathetic prices, but one must not forget you are buying a unique and exclusive pair of excellent, handcrafted shoes, that will last all your life.