(Bespoke Italian Master Series) *GIANCARLO ROVERI, Bespoke Spade Sole: 41-41.5D (US 8-8.5D)
Size: 41-41.5 [US.8-8.5] [UK 7-7.5]
Styles: Collectors Shoes/Object d'Art, Custom-Bespoke-Maas, Oxfords
Hand-Sewn, Bespoke, Spade Sole, Cap-Toe Oxford
Maestro Roveri’s workshop at V. San Vitale 42 has been assumed by another fine bespoke shoemaker today but until the late 1990s he was a fixture among the cognoscenti of the Emilia Romagna. This bespoke Loafer and several other soon to be listed treasures by Sig. Roveri are in keeping with my quest to find and present the work of less well known Italian masters, past and present.
In the work of Roveri you will first be struck by the marvelous patina his shoes have achieved. This pair and the others all date from the 1990, custom-made for one most exacting client who’s somewhat eclectic taste is represented by the variety of styles seen here. The beauty of these leathers cannot be arrived at but by the passage of time. The “antiquing” and pre-colouring resorted to by the fashion houses of today are for the young and restless among us, the impatient used to immediate (and short-lived) gratification. What happens to those spray-painted and dyed items over time, happily we shall never know. What we see here is the finest of hides, meticulously maintained and beautifully aged. The graduations in colour, the mottled surfaces and even the few marks and blemishes bespeak authenticity and the blessing of history; these are old world gentlemen’s shoes.
But the luxuriant patina of Roveri’s masterpieces is only the first thing to impress. Upon closer inspection, the infinitesimally fine workmanship comes into view. Of course, in ever case, the hand-sewn channeled soles, (in the case of the loafers) the hand-raised apron and the natural fruit-wood patina, (in the case of the monks) the hand-made additional storm welt and massive double sole, (and in the case of this spade sole oxford) the radical sculpture, the flair and angularity of the sole, resolving into the narrowest of waists over a steel shank. Stunning! And good competition with the most dramatic of pre-war Spade Soles shoes.
An amusing, if apocryphal, anecdote concerns Gianni Agnelli, Italy’s principal industrialist and the great icon of Italian style, who after lingering damage to his feet in the high-speed crash of his Ferrari in 1952, found Roveri and commission him to devise a shoe or boot that would support his handicap. Roveri created the ubiquitous ankle boots which Agnelli, wearing them with pinstripes, brought into the canon of acceptability, the epitome ofSpreszzatura, the studied nonchalance for which Agnelli was famous. How Agnelli found Roveri is unreported. Perhaps through some connection at Fiat, of which Agnelli was the chairman and Roveri, to augment his income in the family workshop, dating from the 19th century, was a sometime worker on the production line. The connection is certainly obscure but also the stuff of legends.
Size Details:Custom made, therefore without size indication but, by my practiced measurements, Continental 41-41.5D.......US 8-8.5D......UK 7-7.5E, for the medium width foot.
Excellent. All original, modestly worn soles, heels almost unworn, tops a lovely rich mahagony. This a most glamourous shoe!