When I say the words, Stephane Jimenez, many of you won’t know what that means or who it is. But you should if you fancy yourself a shoe connoisseur. The reason being is that he is the next French bespoke maker to be reckoned with. And when I say that, I say that his level of skill is upwards to that of Anthony Delos, Dimitri Gomez and Pierre Corthay (the man, not the brand). And I think that the pictures will speak for themselves.
Having been trained at the famous ‘Compagnons du Devoir et du Tour de France‘ (click on it to learn more) from 1988-1995, which is where Delos among many other famous bespoke makers went, and working for brands such as John Lobb Bespoke Paris & Stefano Bemer (when Stefano was alive), Jimenez had put in a lot of time in the craft of shoemaking before returning to his home town of Bordeaux, France. And during his time at the Compagnons, he was highly regarded for the motocycle boots he made (as shown below) that took around 450 hours to complete. Needless to say the average bespoke maker cannot produce such articles of greatness.
While Jimenez is quite French in his making as you can see from the lines in the soles and heels and also shapes of the lasts, I see a lot of Bemer in his design (not all of it, but some of it). It makes me smile, as I see the same in myself and in the shoes of Norman Vilalta who also trained at Bemer. And it is only natural as that was the last place he was at before coming back to France to set up shop. But when he came back, he did not do so alone. While in Florence, he met his wife Tomoe, a Japanese shoemaker who now makes up one half of the Jimenez brand, primarily concentrating on upper stitching, although has her hands in the global process to help Stephane with the many intricate details that make up the bespoke process.
Their idea is to create an “uncompromising bespoke experience.” In doing so they have decided that their annual production will not exceed 15 pairs, in order to put into each creation the necessary time it takes to deliver a true bespoke product of a rarely equaled quality. From their own words “No compromise on quality and the spent time that it can require is our true DNA.” Therefore their prices start at €6000, in which each pair may require more than just one trial fitting of prototype shoes and naturally come with bespoke fitting shoe trees.
I imagine that there will be great things to come from the Stephane Jimenez brand.