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BeShoes 2015


A contemporary shoemaker in Paris

by Redazione
January 9th, 2015

The history of your maison. When was it born? Which are the most significant steps you made in the evolution of the tecnique and in your production?

Pierre Corthay’s expertise in the art and know-how of shoe making first started at the Compagnons du Devoir, a french organization of craftsmen dating back to the Middle Ages and still active. Maison Corthay was founded in 1990, a big step for a 28 year old shoemaker who opened his own atelier just few minutes away from Place Vendôme, the square where the most prestigious names have been housed for centuries. Thanks to his courage, determination, talent and flair, Pierre Corthay succeeded. His first order came quickly: 150 pairs of bespoke shoes. In 2003, for the first time ever, artisans recognized for the highest degree of excellence in custom-made shoes decided to set up their own ready-to-wear manufacturing operation. A world premiere. The Corthays wanted full control of every aspect of production to meet their uncompromising standards of quality in the ready-to-wear line that would have bear their name. In 2009 Pierre is the only men’s shoe-maker to have been awarded the title ‘Mâitre d’Art’ (Master of Art), a distinction given by the french Ministry of Culture.

Heritage Factor. Is there any philosophy of “heritage” in your product? How does it influence your final project?

Our dawns are creativity, aesthetics and skill cross paths; a “State-of-the-Art” style of handcrafting the finest shoes for men that blends a seamless balance of traditional shoemaking know-how with an Avant-garde design. A Corthay shoe is known for its distinct silhouette, sleek lines and smooth contours, reproducing original shapes. Inspired by the shape of cars, boats and planes, the front of the shoe resembles a sports car. Maison Corthay believes in using colors that instantly energize spirits. Pigments and hues are something that will never leave the DNA of our Maison. This happens thanks to our talented craftsmen who transform the appearance of a shoe with the help of their magic wand, the brushes, and just a few strokes. Every element of our shoes is materialized and produced within the geographical borders of France. Each Corthay bespoke shoe is made 100% by hand within our humble and time-honored workshop.

Artist of shoemaking: bespoke and ready-to-wear. What do they repre- sent in business market and in production?

Bespoke shoes are the roots of Maison Corthay: they are very prestigious, high in quality but low in numbers even if they are increasing. Ready-to-wear represents the most important part of Maison Corthay. Business is on fire.

Models and collections. Can you describe your production and your models? Which are your best sellers?

Maison Corthay does not believe in chasing the bandwagon and seasonality. We stand by what we believe: creations before collections. The heart of Corthay experimentation is in diversifying its materials, experimenting with colors – Lie de Vin, Vieux Bois or Aubergine -; each patina is unique because of the brush strokes craftmade. Glaçage gives the final touch, revealing a glossy shine. Corthay leathers are carefully sourced and selected for high quality, also for our new products: camel leather from Abu Dhabi, traditional japanese denim and linen sourced in the north of France. All other leathers used are supplied by traditional french tanneries in the limousin area produced in France. Apart from an assortment of more than 30 models on display, Richelieu, derby, boot, loafer and buckles – to name a few -, we also provide an option to help our clients in personalizing their pair. It is based on a choice of available leathers, colors, lining and piping. Our best sellers are the Arca Derby, Vendome Oxford, Wilfrid Oxford and Bella Boots in calf or crocodile.

Making of: which is the difference of manufacturing between your “making of by request” and an authentic bespoke?

Ready-to-wear will always guarantee an excellent quality at the highest level, a range of more than 30 models in calf, suede, patent calf or camel. The customer has quasi-endless options for personalization choosing the colour of the piping, leather and patina. Corthay’s finest shoes are reknowned for their distinguished style as well as for the impeccable quality of its traditional goodyear construction: it is mastered, guaranteeing durability and exceptional comfort. The bespoke service offers a unique opportunity to personalize and mould shoes on an individual basis. In a small and highly traditional workshop in the heart of Paris, all the Corthay bespoke shoes are made 100% by hand on Rue Volney near Place Vendôme. More than 50 hours are spent to achieve these remarkable shoes, requiring a large amount of patience and careful attention.

After market. Do you have any care or recrafting service for you bespoke o RTW customers

Maison Corthay as real bootmaker offer profesional attention and care in all our stores. All customers can let their shoes in our shop to be creamed and polished, or resoled and renewed directly from our manufacture. Once a week, we organize “glaçage lesson”: we explain and teach our clientele how to take care of the Corthay shoes.

The future: any strategy?

Corthay has its own shops in Japan, UK, Dubai, Hong Kong, China, the best wholesale in Singapore, Switzerland, Holland and Belgium not to mention outlets across France, and us distribution through saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Leffot in N.Y.C.. Corthay has always maintained quality at all costs to the detriment of quantity, and somehow the best stories come when you have steady development, step by step, and you’re not rushing. Last 21st november 2014 we opened a new Corthay Maison at Shin Kong Place in Beijing and we are planning the next one in New York at mid 2015.

Describe the shoe you exhibit at “beShoes”. Why did you decide to join this first edition in Florence?

We will exhibit both bespoke models and ready-to-wear shoes but always the most iconic and exclusive new creations, highlighting our know-how. Our first experience at the “beHouse” in Florence in May 2014 was really successul. We like how the bespoke team gather the best brands and promote the excellence of craftmanship.

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