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*LÁSZLÓ VASS, HUNGARY, Bespoke Half Brogue Oxford & Custom Trees: 43-43,5D

Neuwertig Bespoke / Custom-Made
Cap-Toe Half Brogue Oxford
by
László Vass
Budapest
Euro 580

      Here is a well made example of one of the unmistakable standards and, with its pointed and chiseled toe, this shoe is immediately recognizable as being a departure from the traditional Austro-Hungarian style with its emblematic tall and rounded toe box. This cleaves to the English last and taste so much more in demand with Vass's clientele today.

      This version by Vass is an entirely hand made shoe, made to measure in Vass’s atelier, and in a rich quality of calfskin that will only improve with age. The sole is channeled and skived as would be expected with the best custom-made shoe and the rubber inset of the heel is further reinforced with hand set nails. The toe too is reinforced with a replaceable tip finished in wooden nails, as in the antique shoemaking tradition. 

      Size: By my careful measurement using fixed-size lasts, I confirm this to be a Continental 43-43,5D (US 10 D) (UK 9 E), correct for a mid-width foot.
      Condition: Superb condition, showing trivial wear. Custom-fitted shoe trees are included. 
      Custom made Vass Shoes are a rarity in the after-market. For those who wish to include an example of Vass's work in their collection of custom-made shoes, this would be an excellent choice,  a classic model, beautifully executed, and one that can be put to frequent use, in other words, not only luxurious but practical too.    
     
      Some history: The concentration of bespoke shoemakers in Vienna and Budapest in the last century, inheritors of the great traditions of the Dual Monarchy, the K. u. K. time, is remarkable. A few of the contemporary continental masters, but also some English and American, are represented in László Vass und Magda Molnár’s seminal book “Herrenschuhe handgearbeitet”, a book well know to shoe lovers or collectors. Still it is not within the scope of this excellent book to innumerate the late great masters whose days at the cobbler’s bench are ended but whose masterpieces are still remembered and even changing hands among collectors. In some cases these firms exist but the old masters whose name they bear now tread a more ethereal ground; George Cleverley immediately comes to mind. In Vienna, in the Singerstrasse, there was Bela Nagy, known for his most elegant and chiseled toe, and wooden nailing. I have it on the generous authority of my very knowledgeable Viennese client, Dr.R.R., who patronized him until Nagy retired in the late 1960, that Nagy’s clientele was taken over by the still thriving Georg Materna. The venerable firm of Scheer & Söhne is still very much in operation and the Senior Herr Scheer was still working when both Dr. R and I stopped in to the Scheer workrooms on different occasions last fall. Going further back, in the 1940s and 50s, there was, for one, the excellent firm of Schilhavy-Rosenzeig. Herrn Rosenzweig himself, I learned, remained active into the late 1960s, working from home in the Himmelpfortgasse. There were others, of course, the excellent Herr Reicher on the Kühnplatz, retired these 10 years, and yet others in Budapest. For the collector the hand work of these great craftsmen remains precious and is much sought after, not only for its extreme rarity but that it memorializes the quality (and variety of individual styles) of the best traditional Central European craftsmanship in this field.

 

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