Last year, after eight years of PG and 1.728 pieces of writing published, we launched a new initiative with selected craftsmen who have gained our trust over the years, to showcase specific and very limited crafted items which may be ordered direct from the maker.
This first experience – the now famous “Go-To White Shirt” by shirtmaker extraordinaire MAROL in Bologna – has been such an overwhelming success that we decided to repeat the experience a few weeks ago with a “Go-To Blue Shirt” (with similar success).
Since then, we continue to receive messages to keep on this path of proposing exceptional sartorial pieces in limited quantities.
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Thus it’s our great pleasure today to launch a new series of limited edition sartorial items, once again strictly reserved for PG readers :
A batch of stunning artisanal shoes designed and crafted in partnership with the inimitable and gifted Argentinian-born shoemaker Norman Vilalta, a star of bespoke and ready-to-wear shoe making, whose atelier is located in Barcelona.
Norman has been on the radar of a growing number of high-end shoes cognoscenti around the world for the extreme quality of his bespoke and ready-to-wear production, for the innate elegant flair of his shoes and for his acclaimed creativity in a rather conservative segment of the market (high level men’s shoes).
For this batch of PG special editions, Norman Vilalta has set up a dedicated website, with a secure environment (for orders) for a simple, safe and, more importantly, exciting and interactive experience for those who are passionate about fine handcrafted shoes.
Three models are offered.
MODEL 1 : THE “1202”, FULLY HANDMADE
This exceptional shoe, proposed in two patterns, is without a doubt the highlight of this limited edition batch, and the one not to miss for the real shoe lover and connoisseur.
The name of this shoe is 1202. The year 1202 is the founding year of the Master Shoemaker’s Guild in Barcelona, of which Norman is a member. It is the first fully handcrafted ready-to-wear (RTW) model of Vilalta.
When we say fully handmade, we mean these shoes are fully handmade, as in traditional bespoke (without using any type of mechanical machine). Technically speaking, this shoe is crafted the way shoes were made more than a century ago.
Finding shoes crafted this way in 2018 is virtually impossible outside the traditional bespoke art which is still performed by a handful of artisans in the world (Jimenez, Atienza, Shiota (Aubercy), Delos (Berluti) and a few others around the world including Vilalta himself). But all these artists/artisans are charging – for good reasons of course – stratospheric prices that are (and will remain) out of reach for the vast majority of men no matter the intensity of their addiction to quality shoes and the sacrifices they are ready to make in order to satiate their passion.
A fully handmade bespoke shoe costs, in average, between 4 and 6 000 euros and a lot more if you ask for some specific construction and skins.
The “heart” and the intention behind this exclusive initiative of Norman Vilalta is to allow a greater number of gentlemen to access an experience that will be extremely close to bespoke in the way the shoe is designed, crafted and personalized, including interaction with the Master shoemaker. During the process, you’ll be able to see your shoe being crafted (photos, videos) and you will have multiple exchanges with the Maestro, but for a price three times less expensive than traditional bespoke!
Or course, for a shoe of this caliber offered under 2000 euros (2400 dollars), the only two things you will not be able to choose are the last (sublime with a strong personality while remaining classic and sober) and the pattern (with a choice between two classic and extremely elegant patterns).
Concerning the lasts, Vilalta says: ¨I made our ready-to-wear lasts with the idea of bringing the advantages of a bespoke fitting to our RTW line of shoes.
1) Though the shoes have a very fitted entrance, they are at the same time very flexible. You will hear the “suapss” sound when entering inside the shoes as you would hear in a bespoke shoe : which translates into comfort.
2) The arch is carved like a bespoke shoe (which has an extremely elegant and slim waist–the concave area on the sole of the shoe). This arch design on the last of the shoe holds close to the foot until the end of the day. The slim waist on the sole of Vilalta shoes result in them being particularly light in weight. The leather quality and design are also optimal for preventing wrinkling in the arch area of the shoe.
3) Vilata has a unique option for sizing. When you choose your size; you can opt for a bespoke fit (very close to the skin), or ask for half a size up for a more free and loose feeling of the feet in the shoes. In this case, with Vilalta lasts, the shoe won’t get permanent wrinkles at the part where it bends when you walk, as this normally happens when there is space between the shoe and the foot. The Vilalta lasts are constructed in a way that the shoe stretches and then gets ironed back in place with each step.
This means that unless your feet present extreme idiosyncrasies (which is not the case with 95% of the men), the highly experienced Norman will know how to guide you in the choice of your size, and thus, no measurement are needed.
This adventure is much more than “simply” buying a high-end shoe : it’s the opportunity to live a unique experience, very very close to bespoke.
Two models are available : One Cap Toe Oxford and one Adelaide Oxford (as you can see below) :
The excellent news is that other than the last and the pattern–everything becomes possible and all is included in the price of 1970 euros (Plus taxes for residents of the European Community only). Even the shipment is paid, no matter where you live.
- You may choose the color and the patina directly with Norman. The sky is the limit.
- You may choose a double or single rounded beveled waist (the concave part of the shoe) on the interior and/or the exterior).
- Maestro Vilalta will include metal tips and if you wish, rubber encrusted soles (for much better durability and performance of the sole).
- Hand nailed and hand polished brass initials are engraved in the sole.
PG’s special edition of the 1202 model comes in a magnificent French box calf leather from Tanneries du Puy (with black box calf lining).
Shoe trees are included and the shipping costs are also included in the price, whether you live in Australia, in Singapore or next door to Barcelona.
ATTENTION : This exceptional batch is strictly limited to 13 pairs. If you plan to buy, we strongly advise you to reserve immediately your pair on the dedicated Norman Vilalta website (HERE). You’ll then have all the time you need to discuss the details (sizing, personalization) directly with Norman by e-mail and phone if necessary. As it is a truly fully-handmade shoe, the delivery time will take between 10 and 12 weeks (which is much less time than bespoke, even if the work is strictly the same in terms of construction).
The ambition of this slightly crazy initiative is once again :
- To give you access to a shoe of bespoke quality of construction but at a much more affordable cost (divided by three).
- To divide the delivery time by about a third.
- To allow you to live a customized experience with a passionate and gifted Master shoemaker.
To reserve your pair, to ask Norman a question or to discover in detail this one-of-a-kind shoe, visit the dedicated website : shop.normanvilalta.com or write an e-mail directly to Norman (email@example.com).
MODEL 2 : THE DEACON CHELSEA BOOT
Two years ago I had the chance to be one of the first happy owners of a very special never-seen-before pair of boots : the Deacon Chelsea.
This hybrid shoe (a mix between a Chelsea boot and a Derby shoe) is absolutely unique in the world and has not been copied so far. Its strength, besides its stunning personality, is its extreme versatility : this boot may be worn with selvedge jeans, flannel odd trousers, or a business suit (no matter how classic and conservative).
The Deacon Chelsea Boot has quickly become one of the most famous and acclaimed models of Norman Vilalta around the world.
This special edition is priced at 1200 euros (before taxes for EEC residents and net price for outside EEC residents) and includes special features that are not findable on “standard” models (e.g., metal tips, rubber encrusted soles and hand nailed and hand polished brass initials in the sole).
This exceptional boot is a Bench grade Goodyear welted construction. The leather is box calf from the “Tanneries du Puy”, the lining is in black box calf, the insole is padded and the patina made by hand (brown, burgundy or blue).
For this model the shoe trees are not included, neither are the shipping costs.
This boot is just phenomenal and will instantly make you step out of the crowd. Unmissable in my humble opinion.
ATTENTION : this batch is strictly limited to 26 pairs. If you intend to buy, we strongly advise you to reserve immediately your pair on the dedicated website (HERE). You’ll then have all the time you need to discuss all the details (sizing, personalization) directly with Norman by e-mail and by phone if necessary.
To reserve your pair, ask a question to Norman or discover in detail this one-of-a-kind boot, please visit the dedicated website :shop.normanvilalta.com or write an e-mail directly to Norman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
MODEL 3 : THE “BLACK COLLECTION”
Norman Vilalta is his own animal. For years, he has refused to craft black bespoke shoes because he found them boring!
But he eventually decided to launch black shoes for this collection, aptly entitled, “The Black Collection”.
His idea is simple but extremely efficient : these black shoes are simply not black ! The black color is hand painted above a layer of a first color (blue, brown, burgundy, grey) in order to provide the shoe with stunning properties when exposed to the light or the sun.
This special edition is offered at 920 euros (before taxes for EEC residents and net for outside EEC residents). Two patterns are available : a very elegant classic Oxford and a Wholecut with side laces.
These two high level models are Bench grade Goodyear welted construction. The leather is box calf from the “Tanneries du Puy”, the lining is in black box calf, the insole is padded and the patina made by hand.
For this model, neither the shoe trees nor the shipping costs are included.
ATTENTION: this batch is strictly limited to 39 pairs. Thus we strongly advise if you intend to purchase, to reserve immediately your pair on the dedicated website (HERE). You’ll then have all the time you need to discuss all the details (sizing, personalization) directly with Norman by e-mail and by phone if necessary.
To reserve your pair or to ask Norman a question, or discover in detail this one-of-a-kind boot, visit the dedicated website : shop.normanvilalta.com or write an e-mail directly to Norman (email@example.com).
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We hope this special edition initiative, particularly the fabulous fully handmade 1202 model, will please you, seduce you and help you acquire exceptional shoes while living a great experience with the shoemaker himself.
To conclude, please pay special attention to:
- The great expertise of Norman (as a bespoke maker) in terms of sizing choice. He will help you making sure you choose (and receive) a good size. No stress on this crucial point.
- The personal commitment of Norman Vilalta to be in regular touch with you, especially if you choose the 1202 model, and to provide any personal advice you may need along the way.
Any feedback or comments on this initiative are welcomed and would be appreciated.
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Norman Vilalta special editions for PG : Shop.normanvilalta.com
For any question or request : firstname.lastname@example.org