Pierre Corthay ranks amongst the best. That needed to be said upfront. A classically trained shoemaker, he apprenticed at luminary marques John Lobb and Berlutti and let me say unequivocally- the apple doesn’t fall very fair away from the shoemaking tree. Though Corthay shoes often straddle (rather successfully I might add) the line between what’s elegant and what’s trendy- sleek not pointy (like many other “trendy” shoes), his is a creation that is both well constructed and whose patina ages well against time and the elements.
While regular readers might stare mouth agape at some of the non-classic lines at corthay.fr, the fact is beyond the strikingly beautiful neon-orange leather kickers, Corthay’s major collections tend to fall within the professionally accepted realm of black and brown albeit edged with subtle hints of primary colouring.
John Lobb in 84, Berluti in 85, once a learner now a master, his brand of sharp and unconstrained men’s footwear attracted the the attention of the Sultan of Brunei, sending the handcrafted shoe atelier into overdrive and launching ready-to-wear (RTW) within 6 years. In 2003, Monsieur Corthay finally had his own RTW facility.
Luxe Investment: Corthay Shoes
The “quintessential” Corthay shoe, it represents the design principles of Piere Corthay. Sleek,sexy and with no want for details.
I’m not a fan of brogue but the Vendome follows the signature Corthay aesthetic, producing a simple wingtip that doesn’t overpower. Interestingly, in a very unique metallica grey “graphite”.
They say the devil is in the details. These are his namesake shoes, nuff’ said.
These made to order Corthay Wilfrid shoes in Bronze leather and ebene suede are to die for. When they’re made for by a French “Master of Art” (it’s a real title, not merely an honorific), it means that France considers Pierre Corthay a cultural icon. [Shop at Leffot]
The Monsieur’s Brief: A guide to luxury footwear
The opinions listed in this Monsieur’s brief are merely opinions based on experience and observation and are in no way statements of fact.
Corthay: I’m not a fan of over indulgent brogue-ing so Corthay tips the scales for me in terms of design and value. Simple yet attention grabbing, Corthay tends to have a more “relaxed” cut unlike Berluti which can be a tad torturous for those gifted with wider feet.
Aubercy: Their shoes almost tie with Corthay save for one small gripe- theirs is a shoe that leads towards fragility. I wouldn’t dare trod a full work day in their shoes though I would gladly wear them to a dinner event (proudly too I might add). Aubercy has a broader collection and with their special order program, more expensive than Corthay; theirs can cost up to $1700.
Berluti: High shine, high maintenance (Berluti shoes tend to crease because they lean towards the narrow) and with delicate patina, Berluti sets a very high standard and price tag for regular footwear. I’d break these out on special occasions or if I want to impress someone. Berluti is gold standard for the elite.
John Lobb: Very traditional shoes and a good starting point if you’re merely dipping a toe (pardon the pun) into the realm of handcrafted shoes. English shoes, not French, know what I’m saying?