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I don't want to talk too much. Kotmj volunteer his clogs, so let's see what I can do with them. Just take a before pic before you hand it over to me. I will be going down to KL soon. I work as a scientist in the field of sustainable forest management, agriculture and world good relief, so I spend most of my time in the field. But what's important is I will do it FOC. Thereafter I will include a step by step reportage on how la effect was rendered. Because I believe there is only so much we can accomplish with motor mouth blabbering. I much prefer for my artistry to speak for itself....it gives me no pleasure to say this, but I see nothing spectacular here except maybe the last photo. The Rossetti is certainly botched. Pity as those are the type of shoes that I especially like to handle. The patin is irregular and cloud like as if someone took a cheap spray can from Ah tong & sons hardware store and just taruh. No good. Pity because that's an awesome shade of brown. It's a travesty. I need to close my eyes for a while. I am traumatized by the carnage!

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I don't work for money. I get paid very well in my day job. If I ever do it - it's just to make a point and set bench mark so that we can all refer to it as the gold standard.

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I think there are different thoughts about patina. There is the Foster & Sons natural sun worn look which people are trying to emulate. In other words, all over the place patina. DSC02001.jpg

 

 

Or the one done by Bontoni below. You would find it sloppy yes?

 

Bontoni-Selection-PG1.jpg

 

I have seen some Berluti which may not be up to your standards. Since you like brush strokes for patina  as you mentioned.and not dabs or strokes of cloth. 


One can never have too many shoes......or cars...or watches...or houses...or...

motoring-malaysia.blogspot.com

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Berluti works with a piece of Giza 45 for basing. Basing is the first stage when a light patin is applied to give depth for the rest to follow. He goes for at least six stages, but even he uses a brush for the nightlights. I don't work with cloth. That takes a lot of confidence, if one gets it wrong, there is no fall back position. I use a sponge for basing. The strokes are less defined lacking in verve and confidence, but I don't believe it subtracts much from the final la effect.

 

Bontoni uses sponges and dabs and a technique where he dabs and sponges with proof alcohol, sometimes he goes circular and that creates a wooly effect. Not saying he's no good, but he doesn't follow the orthodox french lecole chaussier method. Nonetheless even patinage experts agree he is an acquired taste. I like some of his stuff, but my training is closer to the Berluti school that stresses form and symmetry.

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Then you are getting what I am trying to say. I try not to limit patina to one art form or one style. There are so many out there. The Italians maybe or are sloppier, but they could also be more daring, more indulgent and more mad. 

 

And there is the natural patina. I have almost twenty year old (by now) Bruno Magli that have a unique subtle well worn patina. This picture was taken in 2012. They shoes are still with me and worn once every six months or so.

my+monkstraps.jpg

 

As does another Italian wholecut of mine. Bought sometime in 2001 I think.

 

a1.jpg

 

There is patina. But it is all from polish. Not glacage. All natural over the years thingy. 

 

Which is what most of the people actually want to achieve but cannot wait a decade or so.

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One can never have too many shoes......or cars...or watches...or houses...or...

motoring-malaysia.blogspot.com

and

amalaysianman.blogspot.com/

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Riggy, you have definitely invested a lot of deep spirited reflection into your shoe collection. That's quite clear looking at the range and quality of your ensemble. But my feel is these shoes despite the prestige of their exceptional pedigree still look very much like production shoes to me - is there patina? Well yes and no. Yes, because you say it's natural patina that comes with age and usage. But I say, no. As I firmly believe the whole purpose of antiquing is to accentuate the lines of a shoe to bring out both the natural beauty of leather and showcase it's sartorially splendid lines...I don't see that in your shoe collection. Take the case of the last photo. On a scale of 10, I would rate your wholecut somewhere close to a perfect 9.5. I especially like the boxy top cap which in my opinion would benefit from a 5 layer patin treatment of dark brown. I would probably complement that with darken shading along the eyelet and stop short of throat line. Do the same with the back quarter as well. Would touch the vamp, except for a very faint shadow lime to draw the eye to the toecap. As I feel that's really where the eye of the observer should rest as the vanishing point. I wouldn't go as far as to recommend a full monty glacage as that would require me to dabble in black and set the tone in finality - when it comes to antiquing, my experience tends to favor the Jap approach which tends towards minimalism, that's why if it's fawn, I much prefer to work with 37 to 40 gradations of brown and possibly a hint of burgundy or oxblood to create la effect. Anymore than this, then we are really in glacage territory which I rather not go into. As most of the Jap shoe stables I regularly deal with, much prefer a natural wabi sabi treatment and no more. There is a good rationale why the Japs prefer this approach. As what they do for the final finish is to highlight it with shoe polish like what you presumably do Riggy. Only one has to be very careful about trying to accomplish la effect with shoe polish as there is a very good reason why dyes are dyes and polish is polish - in my career I've seen a lot of caked shoes. These are shoes that literally have a super hard substrate of wax that I need to remove with harsh chemicals before EVEN prepping the leather. As the owners all believed they can accomplish a glacage or antiquing effect with JUST polish, not realizing what they're doing is gunking up the leather and diminishing it's natural beauty. To show you what I mean, take a look here on a shoe I am currently working on.

 

https://dotseng.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/image4.jpg

 

Customer is a newbie to the sartorial brotherhood based in Singapore. So pls no snide remarks about his limited lifestyle choice of Clarkies. We all have to start somewhere. Providing it's goodyear welted. I am good to go! Like I said, I am a communist when it comes to shoes, don't mind whether they are Fortuna's or Sacoor OEMed stuff from Portugal to Weston's - only really draw the line on gum shoes and I WILL NOT WORK ON THEM! It's a matter of artistic principle and pride. But I digress.

 

Riggy. I want to draw your attention to the toe cap of the brogue on the right side. Trace out the dark vein and how on the left and right side it grows progressive fainter to accentuate the mid line and draw the eye to the splendor of the brouging - this is what I call the butterfly effect. This is what I mean by lending leather depth, nuance and character. To accomplish this on Loake or Church. maybe the skill level is 6. But on Clarks, it's close to a perfect 10. As I had to literally sand off the toe cap, negotiate bad shoemaking and even out the Scottish grain effect before the dyeing process. If you observe the detailing on the vamp of the left shoe again there is a shadow effect - this time it's less pronounce. But with polishing this would all get better with time. This whole process took about 110 man hours. Which is longer than usual. But nonetheless I enjoyed it immeasurably.

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I am not kidding when I say this. There is perhaps only twenty shoe artist currently on this planet who could have pulled this project off and transform a $600 pair of crap into the upper reaches of spectator genre art. I am one of them. Today this same shoe was last offered at $2000 to the very proud owner. That was the last offer this young chap got for it. The cost for this. He made a donation to my fav charity the Pathlight school for autistic children in Singapore. Like I said, I don't work for money. I know it's strange to you chaps. But that's the way I am hardwired. I just care passionately about my art and I am intensely serious about taking my game to the next level. By sharing this here. I just want to demonstrate my power to transform the mundane and forgettable into something timeless and eternal.....like I said, it's easy peasy to bring out the best in your line of shoes, but not any shoe artist can do the same with a sundry pair of Clarkies....that takes skill.

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Okay. The Clarks you showed me has subtle points. Maybe too subtle for me.  I used to go for the whole French glacage thingy ten years ago. When I was 34 having mind blowing shoes in terms of colours, brushstrokes, patina, glacage, made perfect sense. They are also very controlled in nature, they, as you say follow lines and what not. Maybe this is why I still like the patina service offered by Berluti. They aren't that controlled. Yes they have that highlight and accented lines, but there is still some madness there. I like that. 

 

These days I also prefer something Italian. Like the shoes I have in the photographs above.  Wild brush strokes or wild spots and patches that truly exude a total level of nonchalance. Like swirls and blotches and patches on wood. Free and totally indulgent. They look wild and untamed. Much like how much I like the nonchalant feel of wearing linen jackets and cotton trousers that crumple.  I love the free flowing and relaxed nature of Bontoni, Santoni, Branchini in terms of patina. The double monks in the photos above are mine and they are exceptional in the flesh. Yet they are not attention grabbing until the people forget my face.

 

I want a few pairs of Ivan Crivellaro

 

490470215637884897_hHDSHH3l_c.jpg

 

1399809_10203693926579558_37554272983843

 

But on the other hand, A Corthay RTW with whatever hand finish is already nice for the look I am going for occasions when I feel a little more stublety is in order. Which has the same overall look of the shoe I own below. 

 

DSC07465%2B%255B1024x768%255D.JPG

 

Or one of these. These are sublime. I want one of these. These are my grail shoes. Not for the patina but for the shape. These do not need any more Va-va-voom. Seriously. 

 

Bestetti-one.jpg


One can never have too many shoes......or cars...or watches...or houses...or...

motoring-malaysia.blogspot.com

and

amalaysianman.blogspot.com/

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First two pics. I can get 90% copy day lah.I can even tell you how it's done. No Da Vinci code on the first one. No mystery. 50 hour job. But the second one is rather mysterious. This guy is brave. Toecap looks at first painted black with brush. But look again at the brouging at edge of throat line, it's partial and speckled...he's using a Catalan sponging, Italian - the artist is a guy who goes by the name of Ciano, it's a five stage patin with sponging...very confident. No hesitation on this one...he just sat on the bench did it in one straight sitting after the fifth basing...very very confident, I don't see a brush being used there, finished off with cotton wool circular effect - very professionally done as you can see the cloth thru the brouging. Minimum 80 hour job. I can get the right effect to close to 80% copy cat lah, only mind you the base leather for the tassel shoe is creme.

 

I wouldn't mind the privilege of working on shoe with the blue laces. I already have ideas on what it may look like in my head. May I know the name of the shoe stable?

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To me the shoe with blue laces just looks like a blank canvas. I know your brain and everyone else sees it as it is, but my artistic brain sees it different. As it is, it's got no chutzpah whatsoever...zero character...it just looks like it came out from a conveyor belt in some faceless factory. Shape wise it's already very stunning. There is no need to accentuate the lines further with patin, all you would do if you ever did that is end up looking like Ronald McDonald. I would not recommend any sort of visual illusion here. None whatsoever. As I feel the proportions in toe cap, vamp all the way to the unusual 4 eyelet toe line already rest well aesthetically. So I would never ever consider taking that aspect away. As I believe the meister did a wonderful job there with the proportions. Hence will not go too strong on the antiquing, the treatment has to be subtle. Maybe I would just give it a very subtle treatment like what I did for the full wing brogues to bring out the nuance and depth of the leather. I would provably give it a marbling effect like in the second pic with the tassel only with larger diameter bold strokes of swirls and cap it off with dark brown toe cap and throat section of the eyelets. Sometimes I feel the need to step in assertively and tell my clients - what will work and not. Like the brogue project - the client wanted so many things, but he got quite a shock when I told him the treatment are would just be 80% toe cap region and rest spread out between vamp and quarter. He complained so little! I had to tell him flatly, there is a helluva lot already going on. You have the pebble grain of scot leathering. You have the correspondent effect that pops the wing tips and now he wants this and that which I felt would only diminish the overall beauty of the shoe. So I told him to keep it simple and plumb for the less is more school of design. I would recommend the same for this blank canvas Riggy.

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Kotmj is supposed to post a photo here of the shoes I am supposed to work on. I would appreciate it if he could do me the courtesy of doing so. As I will be going down to KL soon for business. But I really want to have a feel of what I have to work with first.

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To me the shoe with blue laces just looks like a blank canvas. I know your brain and everyone else sees it as it is, but my artistic brain sees it different. As it is, it's got no chutzpah whatsoever...zero character...it just looks like it came out from a conveyor belt in some faceless factory. Shape wise it's already very stunning. There is no need to accentuate the lines further with patin, all you would do if you ever did that is end up looking like Ronald McDonald. I would not recommend any sort of visual illusion here. None whatsoever. As I feel the proportions in toe cap, vamp all the way to the unusual 4 eyelet toe line already rest well aesthetically. So I would never ever consider taking that aspect away. As I believe the meister did a wonderful job there with the proportions. Hence will not go too strong on the antiquing, the treatment has to be subtle. Maybe I would just give it a very subtle treatment like what I did for the full wing brogues to bring out the nuance and depth of the leather. I would provably give it a marbling effect like in the second pic with the tassel only with larger diameter bold strokes of swirls and cap it off with dark brown toe cap and throat section of the eyelets. Sometimes I feel the need to step in assertively and tell my clients - what will work and not. Like the brogue project - the client wanted so many things, but he got quite a shock when I told him the treatment are would just be 80% toe cap region and rest spread out between vamp and quarter. He complained so little! I had to tell him flatly, there is a helluva lot already going on. You have the pebble grain of scot leathering. You have the correspondent effect that pops the wing tips and now he wants this and that which I felt would only diminish the overall beauty of the shoe. So I told him to keep it simple and plumb for the less is more school of design. I would recommend the same for this blank canvas Riggy.

 

The shoe is a Sutor Mantellassi. Yes I do think the shoe is complete because the colouring of the shoe isn't just monotone, you can actually see the strokes if you go close. But no one is going to stop, bend over and look at my shoes that close and see tell me that 'wow, there are brush strokes there!!!'. In this case, I don't really need anymore 'antiquing'. The shape is splendid enough to carry the whole shoe and all I have to do it either walk...or sit down and cross my legs if I wanted more attention to be focused them. 

 

DSC07467%2B%255B1024x768%255D.JPG

 

 

It is your right to believe that everything my have patina or antiquing. Note that the word antiquing actually means making something new look like it has been worn. Hence, If the shoe gets its patina after a decade of wear, polish, removal of polish, repolish then it already is something with real patina. Something only an owner can relish after years of wear. As I said, I used to be enamoured with antiquing or the french way of patina. But not so much these days. This happens when you have a heck of a lot of shoes...plenty of patience and time to let things come naturally....and actually the opportunity to wander around and go meet people who actually sell the shoes I dream of. 

 

For example, I have actually met the patina artist for the Berluti Boutique in Singapore. I know what she (at the time) is capable of. I also know that Septimie Lageur, the French shoemaker has its branch in Singapore also. I have visited the store. I know Tassels of HK sells my Bontoni. 

 

Speaking of Berluti, the two SetefanoBi pictured somewhere above came from the same factory as Berluti RTW. The company is owned by LVMH and has since closed. Most probably the whole facility is now used for Berluti RTW production. Makes sense for the company..like how they bought French tailoring house ARNY's and made it Berluti clothing. It is no surprise the the subtle 'tiger' stripes were done by the same people who did the patina on a Berluti. Of course, you are right. Mass produced patina isn't as striking as something custom. But from experience, wear a shoe with patina for about 5 years or so, with proper care and it becomes its own. The Santoni double monk has done five years on my feet. I imagine it would be perfect in terms of patina in about 4 years or so.

 

It is like you are telling me that every watch I own must be bronze so that it will patina. But I enjoy my stainless steel watches for its design and shape.. Or that every Ferrari I dream of must be red. I also think that the Mantellassi should remain as it is because like an Aston Martin DB5 in silver is still beautiful because of its overall shape, not colour. 

 

I have learnt to look beyond just lines and accents. Ten years ago I'd jump at the opportunity.


One can never have too many shoes......or cars...or watches...or houses...or...

motoring-malaysia.blogspot.com

and

amalaysianman.blogspot.com/

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'I also think that the Mantellassi should remain as it is because like an Aston Martin DB5 in silver is still beautiful because of its overall shape'

 

Yes, the shape is beyond reproach that much I will agree. I have never harbored any doubts that it can hold it's own on just the merit of it's exquisite symmetry and proportions. You do have very good taste Riggy.

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I may decide to go down to Plal and buy up half and shop and renovate all the shoes there and sell them. I want to be the first person to make the first good year welted shoe in Malaysia. Most people think I am crazy, but they have no idea how determined I am. Mr Kotmj, you may send the shoe to the following address, 18, jalan Nusa, taman duta, the guardhouse will open the gate for you at 12 sharp noon. You may be searched, but do not be alarmed that is only normal. We will have a five minute conversation on what you want to be commission. Kindly do me the courtesy to be concise and clear and prepare what you want with sketches or a photo. Within the month you will get your shoe back again as per agreed. I am a man of my word. The terms of my contract are follows. All commissions are private and confidential. I will not take any pics. You have my word as a gentleman, should you decide to do so and post to whole world, that is your prerogative - only I don't wish to be attributed. I much prefer to remain anonymous.

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IMG_20160507_140737.jpg?raw=1

 

Above my Loake Durham from the 1880 range. Purchased at P.Lal in 2009; I was told during purchase that they have been keeping the shoe for a long time, so production date is early 2000's. I was also told that the then current Loakes are not of the same quality anymore. Since then, quality has slipped even further.

 

Early when I received the shoe, I applied lots of Saphir wax in tan colour. The leather gobbled up all the wax -- it was really thirsty. A few years down the road, I decided to try my hand at antiquing. Dark brown, navy and maybe even oxblood waxes from Saphir, Star Wax and Burgol were applied primarily to the tip of the cap area. I found that this thick wax would crack and chip off, and being too busy, could not be bothered to repair the flaked off waxes.

 

Tomorrow, I hand this pair over to Dr Chong and he shall give it a Parisian treatment. It's almost worth starting this forum for this alone.

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