February 27 2010
In the fantasy world of handmade shoes, the creations of acknowledged masters such as Bruno Frisoni and Roger Vivier are as ethereally exquisite as any couture gown, and may well feature in future art sales. But there are also less well-known but equally lovely alternatives; one such is Maï Lamore.
To find Maï Lamore you have to know she’s there – an unmarked door on the rue Saint-Honoré, across a little courtyard and finally her name on the sweeping staircase at the back. Her fourth-floor boudoir is pure pampering – you sink into a nude satin sofa and enjoy a drink while you contemplate endless variations of colour, precious skin, beading, silk flowers or hand-appliquéd feathers on her essentially simple styles: platform or not, round toe or point, fine stiletto or shaped heel, straps or plain court (first and second pictures).
To construct your unique shoe, including the last and fittings, costs several thousand euros, depending on materials and the amount of decoration. But, as I discovered, she also does ready-to-wear, and even this reveals the secrets of her fine styling. The cut of a superficially simple court shoe does wonders for those of us not blessed with elegant ankles, while the heel I chose – like a textured, gold leaf-covered lightning flash (third picture) – not only adds a sophisticated and unexpected twist to a classic style but is very comfortable for its height.
That comfort is aided by a cosseting, padded satin insole, so I have a fit snug enough to stop the balls of my feet sliding and rubbing but not so tight that it pinches. These are serious, all-day smart shoes.
Ready-to-wear from £520, couture from £4,300. Clients can also be measured for couture at Browns Shoes in London, where fittings and customisation choice takes place (couture prices at Browns Shoes from £8,500).