Friday, October 15, 2010

The craft of Cheaney lands in John Lewis

Last month I was invited to watch the Cheaney craftsmen at work at their Desborough factory, to learn more about one of England's master shoemakers and see the fruits of their collaboration with Joe Casely-Hayford for John Lewis. I eagerly followed and snapped away at each well honed and practiced process from start to finish in the factory that has been their home for well over two hundred years. It was a pleasure to be able to watch each stage unfold in a space that has seen the same processes come together for over two centuries. It is little wonder why Joe Casely-Hayford partnered with them once more. After the deserved success of last season’s Pukk brogues (they had this blogger's heart skipping a few beats), Casely-Hayford has taken the much appreciated design concept a step further. During my time at the factory I was able to see firsthand snapshots of the creation process for the latest Joe Casely-Hayford for John Lewis, Cheaney brogue; the Mentor.  I was fortunate enough to view the finishing touches being applied to one of the final dozen due to be dispatched to John Lewis. A few weeks later and as brogue is now available to purchase online and in the John Lewis flagship store, I couldn't resist taking a closer look. 

Joe Casely-Hayford for John Lewis Mentor Punched Oxford Shoes in black, £250.

The Mentor is a new take on the classic Oxford. Using a whole upper (one piece of leather for the whole shoe), which requires true craftsmanship, he’s collaborated with an English shoemaker to produce a new classic. It showcases sophisticated design elements including an integral punched toe cap and a chamfered Goodyear Welted sole to make a shoe both wonderfully stylish yet practical. It is a stunning shoe and once again, my heart skips a beat or two at the sight of it. Long may this collaboration continue.

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