Monthly Archives: March 2009
Sketch c/o Leesa Leva
The response to my post on Saddle Shoes was overwhelming.
A Treasury of … found two pair.
The second pair, from Urban Outfitters are nice. They’re too flimsy for my taste, but the minimalist approach should have wide appeal.
East Side Bride and Mi Melodia bonded over a funky pair of spectators (note, fellas: not saddle shoes) from English designer Tracy Neuls’ TN_29 collection, a great-looking shoe for the plaidy in your life!
After seeing that I wrote about Corpus, one of the brands his firm represents, Mr. Steven Rojas of Archetype Showroom sent me a photo of this navy buck which comes from a collaboration between Paris boutique Aprill 77 and London shoe company YMC. The shoe is vegan-friendly and very handsome. I would love to know what the hand-feel is like on the artificial suede.
In the comments of the last post, Trip and two gentlemen named Richard referenced Ralph Lauren. The RL Henley Saddle is simple, classic, and far and away my favorite version of the saddle. Unfortunately, I’m unable to justify spending $575.00 for what would be a knock-around shoe. Please alert me if you find these on sale.
Did I say favorite? Make that my second favorite to these beauties. Mr. Richard Coyle was kind enough to send these photos of both his pair of long-discontinued saddles from Alden. I love the simple, elegant tooling of the saddle itself. The perforations or brogueing emphasize the difference in the saddle and vamp leathers and elevate a casual shoe to a level that is downright dressy.
Richard had this to say:
I got them in the early 80s in a store in Princeton, NJ. They were a stock item in the store but they were custom ordered by the owner and they are true classics built on the same last as the dress saddles sold by Alden today. Unfortunately, we’ll probably never see them again in the white versions. The man that owned the store was a prep fanatic and he hated to see the demise of classic clothing on the campus. Even after his retail store closed, he maintained his relationship with Alden and continued to do special orders for the saddles. He had a client list of Princeton alumni from over the years and used to ship the shoes all over the country. He told me that he even traveled to the Alden factory to inspect the leather before he allowed the builds! Did I already use the word fanatic? Well anyway, some of us benefited from his obsession. The shoes have been refurbished twice by a company in upstate NY. The refurbishing does an amazing job of bringing the leather back to life and diminishing the scars from wear. Maybe some day, someone will convince Alden to make them again. Until then the RLs will have to do.
Mr. Coyle? Done deal.
On the train into work this morning, I read Mary-Louis Parker’s endorsement of Josh Ritter in Esquire and felt compelled to share a song. I first heard Mr. Ritter singing “Come and Find Me” in the spring of my senior year of college while fully embracing my writerly whims. And every spring since, whether in conversation with friends, through the words of a famous actress, or due to his relentless touring, I re-encounter his masterful songwriting and performing.
If you haven’t, seek him out. His words are well-chosen, his imagery precise, and his live show is one of the most joyous occasions you will ever experience.
More music available through The Hype Machine.
Images c/o Dean Chalkley
Foster and I, buzzed from a combination of excitement and old boot smell, started in on some of the jackets. Mrs. Porter and her colleagues have collected and hung them by decade. As we trudged deeper into the closet, the fabrication grew tougher, heavier. I imagined gearing up for a big hunt, lacing 12″ high Maine Hunting Shoes over heavy rag wool socks; layering moleskin trousers over my dark red long johns; sporting chambray and wool over a red River Driver shirt and finally a coat fashioned of shearling, leather, and heavy duck canvas – topped off with a fur collar. The thought alone was exhausting.
This “nugget” as Foster was quick to call it, a women’s jacket from the early seventies, immediately reminded me of a jacket that appeared last year in Japanese publication Free & Easy.
I know Daiki Suzuki of Engineered Garments and Woolrich Woolen Mills has done something similar in recent years as well. The Rainbow Lake jacket was in pristine condition. It hadn’t been worn. The color, in particular the red and the blue were so lush, technicolor, they popped. As Foster and I stood there, gushing, he whispered, “Try it on.”
“No way!” I hushed back.
“You wanna try it on?” Mrs. Porter, rolling Maine accent, asked from across the room. “G’head.”
Go ahead I did.
I’m not quite a women’s 10, but the jacket was so cool. I would love to see a designer pick this up and run with it.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. One of the most handsome plaids I’ve ever seen, this Maine Hunting Coat from 1917 was a real find. The documentation that accompanied it included a photograph of the owner along with an inscription. Mrs. Porter mentioned that there are photos of L.L. Bean wearing the same coat. Mr. Bean’s personal endorsement was a selling point in their catalogues, and I imagine pictures of him using the products hammered the point home.
Leaving the archives, Foster and I were thoroughly exhausted. He’d taken over 800 photographs, filling his memory cards to capacity. I couldn’t and I still can’t believe our good fortune. The time we were given there was plenty to get a feel for the archive. I would love to go back with a game plan. The folks who organized the visit could not have been more helpful, and Mrs. Ruth Porter in particular could not have been more warm or welcoming. I’ve said to friends it may have been one the best days of my life, and I laugh as I write it down here, not because it isn’t true, but because it’s most likely an understatement.
I look forward to posting more of these “field trips” in the weeks and months to come. If you have suggestions or comments for future excursions, please be in touch. I would love to know your thoughts.
Look this weekend for a round-up of stories and images that did not make it into our posts here at all plaidout and A Restless Transplant.
Be sure to check out Foster’s post from today as I’m sure you WWII buffs will love one of the coats he’s featuring.
ACL knocks another one out of the park with his selection of ball caps from the Cooperstown Collection. You can bet I will proudly sport these puppies at Citi Field this June when my beloved Cardinals come to town.