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*LÁSZLÓ VASS Rare Bespoke Suede Full Brogue Budapester; 44,5D

 Bespoke / Custom-Made
Suede, Full Medallion Wing Tip Derby Brogue
Budapester
by
László Vass
Euro 480
This Budapester is immediately recognized as a departure from the traditional Austro-Hungarian model. The emblematic tall and rounded toe-box has given way to a more elongated chisel-shaped toe, more in the English taste than in the Hungarian. The shoemaker's last is use is more contemporary "Új Péter", the "new Peter" last. This shoe is entirely hand made, made to measure in Vass’s atelier, a Full Wing-Tip Derby Brogue in premium velour suede. The sole is hand-sewn to the welt in a channel, and skived over. The remaining thin line of the channel can still be seen at the arch of the shoe. The shoe is fitted with a combination heel, and the replaceable rubber inset is hand nailed with grouped brass nails in the old fashion. The sole has a replaceable thin rubber sole protector original to the shoe (not added later) and fixed with brass nails at the toe  
No size is given for custom- made shoes but by my careful measurement using fixed-size lasts, I take this to be a Continental 44,5 D (US 11D) (UK 10E), correct for a mid-width foot.
 
The rarity of this shoe in the after-market cannot be over emphasized. There are at best a few ready-made Vass shoes to be found at any time but no more than one or two custom-made shoe a year by this important shoemaker. If you are assembling a collection of custom shoes of the great bespoke shoemakers and lack one from the hand of László Vass, there are few finer to be had than this pair. If you have the good fortune of taking a size 45 shoe, there is no more well made nor more surpassingly beautiful example of the classic Budapester for you to wear.

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 "Handmade Shoes for Men" http://www.amazon.com/Handmade-Shoes-Men-Lasz-Vass/dp/3895089281, available in German, English and French “Herrenschuhe handgearbeitet”, http://www.amazon.de/Herrenschuhe-handgearbeitet-Laszlo-Vass/dp/3895081116, a book well know to shoe lovers or collectors and well worth having. 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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