Fashion | Christian Louboutin Men’s Bench Made Collection
I bet if you ask someone when the last time they went to a cobbler, they’d likely look at like you’ve just insulted their mother and mutter, “Never.” The sad truth of a dying trade. A scarce trade that for centuries, many had commissioned to keep them well-heeled, relied on to keep their feet safe from the elements or trusted to breathe new life into a beloved pair of shoes. The introduction of industrial mass production saw the decline of shoe-making and consumers turned to cheaper less expense alternatives in footwear.
Personally having options from both ends of the footwear spectrum, there really isn’t a comparison between the two. The attention to detail, that carefully manicured cut of materials, meticulously (more often than not) hand-stitched borders and hand-polished finishes. Divine, really. Not all is lost though! Shoe-making has not completely vanished – not if Christian Louboutin has anything to do with it.
The man responsible for that famous red-soled heel that we all lust over has seen to the continuation of shoe-making by fostering working relationships with artisans to create the Christian Louboutin Men’s Bench Made Collection.
Every Christian Louboutin Men’s bench made shoe is created through a unique process that has been specially developed, enabling the signature use of mixed materials, rare materials and special embroideries, to be executed with the highest possible level of quality.
Working directly with Louboutin, experienced artisans use a combination of traditional and innovative techniques to fully realize his designs. Due to extensive training and experience, they are able to create the shoes from beginning to end, including the preparation of the raw materials which is usually done at a separately located tannery, and execute delicate time-consuming production processes.
Specialty techniques used to create of the Christian Louboutin Men’s bench made collection include:
- Development of custom dying and texturizing processes, transforming the high quality raw components into unique materials
- Layers of patina are hand applied to some styles to add color and shine, creating a transparent effect that is not provided with classic leathers. The artisans create proprietary, all natural patina formula for each shade in the collection. Each patina formula requires a unique application process, with some needing as many as 12 layers and take up to two days to produce the correct color.
-To create Miele (the lightest shade which means ‘honey’ in Italian), the process includes the following: wax based products are used to remove color from the raw leather, a first coat of color is applied and allowed to dry, a second coat of color is applied and allowed to dry, the shoe is brushed by hand to create a shiny finish, the stitching on the shoe has several additional layers of the patina applied to darken the contrast of the lines
-To create a black patina, the leather is coated with several different products, and then a heating tool is used to create the shiny finish.
- The stitched sole is a hand-done finishing technique used on several styles. First the elements that comprise the sole of the shoe are compressed with a high pressure machine and then stitched using a hand operated machine. It is a very delicate process and while a machine is used, it needs to be operated by qualified personnel who have a lot of experience in order to avoid any damage to the shoe.
- Special linings are created for each shoe using natural calf leather and suede that is stitched together and hand applied techniques.
- Various embossing and graining techniques are used create raised textures on the surface of the leathers, which can emulate a particular pattern or type of animal
- Several buffing techniques are used to obtain different types of leather: Nubuck, suede or correct grain
- Cuoio is an important material that is entirely produced in the factory. It is composed of several layers of leather that are compressed and attached together that creates a material which gives the effect of natural wood.
All that said – we’re not having the argument between mass produced and carefully constructed footwear. We’re done here.
Photos: Christian Louboutin