*László VASS, HUNGARY, Bespoke Cap-Toe Oxford & Custom Trees: 46D
Size: 46-46.5 [US12-12.5] [UK 11-11.5]
Styles: Collectors Shoes/Object d'Art, Oxfords
Neuwertig Bespoke / Custom-Made / Custom Trees
Here is a well made example of one of the unmistakable standards and, with its more than usually pointed toe, this shoe is a slight departure from the traditional Austro-Hungarian style with its emblematic tall and rounded toe box. This nods to the English last and taste more in demand with Vass’s clientele today, while retaining the tallness of the toe for utmost comfort.
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 hand sewn, 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 brass nails. The heavy double leather sole if further protected by the application of a thin non-slip rubber sole, ideal for any weather and any surface.
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. More than anywhere else in Europe, the fine craft of hand- and bespoke-shoemaking appears to be thriving in Hungary. Apart from the most famous names, László Vass and Heinrich Dinkelacker, many other excellent craftsmen continue to ply their trade, among them Koronya, Michael Kors, Ildikó Gál, and Tibor Sallay. A few of the contemporary continental masters and 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 and 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 are 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.
Size Details:Using fixed-size lasts, I confirm this to be a Continental 46D (US 12D) (UK 11E), correct for a mid-width foot.
Superb condition, showing trivial wear, to the heel, consistent with having been worn once on the pavement. Soles show zero wear. Custom-fitted shoe trees are included.