January 06 2011
Carréducker is for the man and woman about town who likes shoes that at first glance appear classic but on closer inspection reveal a certain je ne sais quoi, an individual touch that expresses their personality. The cobbler makes bespoke, hand-sewn shoes that, while aficionados clock their quirkiness, no one would think are too “out there”.
The company’s idiosyncratic name is a conflation of the surnames of co-founders Deborah Carré and James Ducker. They are based both in London’s Cockpit Arts studios for designer-makers and now also in a fascinating open-to-view workshop at Gieves & Hawkes on Savile Row (whose support is testament to the mastery of their craft). Here you can watch them make bespoke shoes, a process that, naturally, involves making lasts to clients’ measurements, designing shoes to suit their style in their chosen leather(s) and making any necessary adjustments after the fittings. All these built-to-last shoes (from £2,670) or boots (from £2,790) are hand-sewn and delivered to the customer.
The range of shoes on Carréducker’s website reflects the duo’s expertise. Wholecuts, for example, are made of one piece of leather with a single back seam. There are also chisel-toed Oxford brogues and Derby boots with laces that untie easily so you can slip your foot out effortlessly. For the more flamboyant, there are lizardskin and patent boots or the striking Go Faster Stripe Oxfords. Brogues can be modernised by punching larger or smaller holes than is traditional. Heels can be shaped in different styles – from Cuban to straight. Practicality is also taken into account: ankle boots are higher than normal so they don’t ruck up trouser cuffs.
There’s the option of a flash of colour in lining and piped edges (red, turquoise…) but the general palette is browns and blacks.
“We’re not trying to scare the horses,” concludes Carré. “We give our customers what they want – in other words, not a typical black brogue with a 1 1/8in heel.”