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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bespoke Shoes by Ildiko Gal

Lizard, crocodile, Italian calf and stingray... The world’s most luxurious leathers comprise the elegant debut collection of ready to wear and bespoke men’s shoes from Hungarian designer Ildiko Gal.

The FAB team was invited last week for a preview showing of the collection and had opportunity to meet the founder of the company. Like Louboutins and women, the men in attendance fell in love and lust at first sight of the collection.

The shoes were well priced for $295 and up for the RTW collections, made in Italy. The hallmarks of good quality included the outsole stitching, oak tanned leather outsoles and variety of elegantly rendered colors and styles. In time for summer, the most popular style was the navy loafers with soft rubber soles. There were variations and updates on classic Derbys and Oxfords that could easily be worn to the office or out on the town.

If one happens to have a cool $2290 or moer, the range of models and leathers in the bespoke collection is a delight to any man and the woman who admires them. The Andorra model in stingray was a gorgeous lace-up while the Antibes model in navy and white calf was a fresh take on the classic Oxford style.

Gal has taken the renowned traditions of Hungarian shoe-making and applied modern German technology. It is a scanning process that I had to try out myself. I put on specially printed socks, stood on a computer platform and a scanning device circled each foot. A computer recorded data with my exact foot shape and foot bed imprint in 3D. The data is then sent to Hungary where a shoe last of each foot is made in wood, which would used to make the bespoke shoe. Each step takes time and skill, requires careful work. precision but is well worth it.

One can argue that a custom leather shoe is a necessity in terms of value if one can afford it. With hand-crafted shoes, a privileged client will have shoes for many years, with only re-soling necessary after general care using custom shoe trees and care kits provide by Gal.
Quick tip: Never let anyone else borrow these! It ruins the shape forever. Oh, and never wear the same shoes two days in a row.

Story and photos by Ritika W.

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