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February, 2018:

AWL AND SUNDRY BESPOKE SHOES

Awl and Sundry bespoke shoes.

Awl and Sundry bespoke shoes.

I was recently introduced to handcrafted custom shoes by Awl & Sundry through an exciting collaboration with Vibeke Grytbak. These smashing brown suede chukka boots I am sporting were exactly what I was looking for – a classic look for Autumn/Winter ensembles and something versatile that works well for both casual and more dressed up looks.

Awl and Sundry shoes fill a niche for those who like the idea of exclusive bespoke shoes (and who doesn’t?), but who don’t want to pay the exhorbinant prices of, say, John Lobb or George Cleverly. Awl and Sundry’s shoes are hand made in Tuscany – one pair at a time – using only the highest grade full grain leather and they use proprietary 3D technology to give you the most perfect, personalized fit – oh, and they are less than $500. Think of how many ill-fitting and uncomfortable shoes you’ve purchased throughout your life! Well you can forget about that ever happening again.

Today I paired my chukkas with terrific Brown Watch wool tartan pants by Phineas Cole at Paul Stuart.

Stay tuned for much more and do peruse their website and Instagram feed to inspire YOUR very own pair of bespoke shoes!

VERSAILLES: A PRIVATE INVITATION

VersaillesPrivateInvitation_newedition_cover

Being forever fascinated by Versailles, I’m beyond thrilled to bring you Flammarion’s fabulous new book, Versailles: A Private Invitation by Guillaume Picon with photographs by Francis Hammond.

Of course there have been quite a few books on the subject, but I can say that this latest endeavor truly stands out with its many new and rarely seen before vantages – and it is a fascinating read as well. Photographer Hammond has been given unrestricted access to every possible point on the property (this is indeed a private invitation) and brings to bear all of his own creative sensibilities to capture the power, splendor, and grace that so pervades all of Versailles. And with complementary aplomb, writer Picon provides deep scholarly insight into the Kings and court life of France and presents fresh and illuminating source material that captures the very essence of Versailles.

photo by Francis Hammond from the book, Versailles: Private Invitation. Flammarion

photo by Francis Hammond from the book, Versailles: Private Invitation. Flammarion

photo by Francis Hammond from the book, Versailles: Private Invitation. Flammarion

photo by Francis Hammond from the book, Versailles: Private Invitation. Flammarion

photo by Francis Hammond from the book, Versailles: Private Invitation. Flammarion

photo by Francis Hammond from the book, Versailles: Private Invitation. Flammarion

photo by Francis Hammond from the book, Versailles: Private Invitation. Flammarion

photo by Francis Hammond from the book, Versailles: Private Invitation. Flammarion

photo by Francis Hammond from the book, Versailles: Private Invitation. Flammarion

photo by Francis Hammond from the book, Versailles: Private Invitation. Flammarion

photo by Francis Hammond from the book, Versailles: Private Invitation. Flammarion

photo by Francis Hammond from the book, Versailles: Private Invitation. Flammarion

As you may know, one of my favorite maxims is “imagination becomes reality,” but when I say this, I don’t mean to imply that things manifest without proper causes and conditions. Any great unfolding requires some fundamental (read: elemental) ingredients like singularity of vision, sustained effort, and of course material resources. The meeting of Louis XIV with the genius of André Le Nôtre, and the subsequent forty year undertaking to transform nine hundred and seventy-seven acres of marshes, grasslands, and forests into the crystalline grounds we experience now in the gardens of Versailles is one of those superlative examples of total alignment. And if we are considering my aforementioned maxim, then I have to say my experience at Versailles via “Versailles: A Private Invitation” has me thinking BIG! How about you?

Versailles: A Private Invitation is incredibly inspiring and a delicious read. Do snap up a copy! You won’t be disappointed.