Back in late July of 2011, I went to Paris for a quick business trip and happened to have enough time to pop into the Corthay shop in hopes to meet the legend himself, Mr. Pierre Corthay. Unfortunately, at the time, he was away and therefore was unable to meet him but did meet his brother, who is also very much involved in the company. While it was still a lovely visit, I knew that there would always be a ‘next time’ for the opportunity to meet the man himself! That being, on Tuesday of last week, I was scrolling through Facebook or something of that nature (maybe a blog) and happened to notice that Mr. Pierre Corthay was coming to London for a trunk show on the Friday of that week. I knew that this was my chance, not only to meet him but to finally check out their new shop in London that had just opened last December, of which I had been meaning to go in order to give you all some info! Therein lied my opportunity to kill two birds with one stone!
When I arrived there the shop was actually closed (it was about 9:50am). I was a bit worried (as they don’t list the opening hours on the website) that maybe they wouldn’t open until 11am or somewhere along that time (they are in Knightsbridge after all…). Luckily, I had my smartphone on me and utilized it to find the phone number to the shop. I quickly called and happen to get ahold of the store manager, Francois, who kindly ran upstairs to let me in. He took my to the bottom level of the store, where low-and-behold, was Mr. Pierre Corthay himself! It was a bit surreal finally meeting him and I was taken back a bit by the error in my preconceived notion of how he may have been, in the sense that most (shoe) artists (in my opinion) are a bit reserved (which can be seen as cold) when you first meet them. Yet, Pierre was extremely friendly and nice, and happened to actually know who I was (quite possibly due to my visit to the Paris shop), which was quite a surprise and a comforting feeling all at the same time. We began to chat a bit, mainly about his shoes, my goals in starting my own line and how business has been for him. While the chatting was brief (as time was of the essence, for us both), it was nice to finally be able to meet the man behind some of the most lovely shoes in the world.
After the quick chat with Pierre, a client came to visit him, so I began to talk to Francois and the young patina/shine artist (Thomas) that creates much of the magical coloring that you see on Corthay shoes. They told me that in order to give the coloring that you see on the two crocodile shoes within this post, the patina artist spends a total of 8 hours coloring in each scale one-by-one. Talk about a meticulous job. But in order to create art (as these beauties are), one must do so with precision and patience. That being, you can imagine (especially since the young gentleman was only 23) that I was insanely impressed! But when passion is involved, age no longer becomes an issue, only drive and ambition to be the best that you can.
After the quick chat with the two gentleman, I had to be off in order to not become too late for work. But I have to say that I was duly impressed with the visit and how immensely kind and generous everyone there was. That being, if you are ever in the area I highly recommend a visit, if nothing more than to admire the beautiful shoes and possibly see an artist at work….
|miniature model (as long as my hand)|