JOHNSTON & MURPHY “Aristocraft” WHOLECUT Oxford, Circa 1990: 45C
Johnston & Murphy
A “wholecut” shoe, as the name suggests, is made from a single piece of leather joined only in the back of the shoe. A “wholecut” may or may not be decorated with punching (brogueing) at the toe or elsewhere but is usually otherwise undecorated and as it is seamless, the quarters and vamp being of one piece, it is always an oxford. The making of a “wholecut” requires a larger and unblemished piece of leather and greater skill on the part of the shoemaker and this generally translates into a higher price.
This shoe departs from the usual austerity of the “wholecut” with a 360 degree line of hand-stitching just above the sole. This discreet decoration lends a touch of elegance to the shoe without encroaching upon its inherent streamlined simplicity; the overall effect is charming.
The fewer the seems in the uppers of a shoe, the more the leather will be able to mould itself and conform to the foot. With no seems at all, the “wholecut” is the most adaptable of shoes and can be expected, in the fullness of time, to accommodate the foot nicely.
Stylistically it is the sleekest of shoes, very appropriate in black to full dress, formal dress, or business, and a well-made “wholecut” can give the impression of a bespoke shoe, one that, in my experience rarely fails to draw compliments.
This Johnston & Murphy’s version of this classic shoe dates from the 1990s, one of their chef-d’oeuvre “Aristocraft” line. Do not compare this to J.&M.’s current production; this is a superior shoe from the last period of the firm’s proud history.
Size: 11,5C US (10.5D UK) European 45C, for the somewhat narrower foot.
Condition: Original sole and replacement heel lightly worn. One or two trivial blemishes as seen in pictures, else excellent.