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Experimentation is at the heart of Maison Corthay, whether exploring an array of diverse materials, a rich assortment of colours or working on innovative shapes
Maison Corthay marks its existence by producing the finest handmade shoes for men. The brand’s target clientele is comprised of people who demand superlative quality and who make refined choices that are designed to express subtle distinction rather than brash statements.
Tracing a history back to 1979, when Pierre Corthay began his apprenticeship with the Compagnons du Devoir, a medieval guild of craftsmen devoted to the transmission of knowledge to young apprentices. By 1990, Maison Corthay was established and 10 years later, the highest possible recognition of French Craftsmanship, the title of Maitre D’Art had been awarded to Pierre Corthay.
Drawing on the point where creativity, aesthetics and skill cross paths, Maison Corthay’s hand crafted shoes are a fascinating fusion between the traditional know-how of working with luxury leather and the sophisticated avant-garde design that determines the maison’s signature style, which is explored through four brand pillars.
Innovative use of colour is one of the hallmarks of the Maison Corthay brand as demonstrated in the bright lime green hue of this pair of shoes and the slightly more restrained ombré shade of burgundy.
The first is the shape; the Corthay silhouette is distinctive by design, inspired by the dynamic world of sports cars, planes and boats, with the front of the shoe crafted to share the same silhouette as that of the finest cars.
The second pillar is colour. Adopting the strapline “la couleur c’est Corthay” (colour is Corthay), the maison uses colour and pigment that instantly energise its products, favouring more unusual hues than traditional blacks and browns, such as Lie de Vin (wine lees), Vieux Bois (aged wood) and Aubergine.
The unique colours are applied by masterful strokes of a craftsman’s brush to transform the appearance of shoe, ensuring that each patina speaks for itself.
Materials are the next key element to Corthay quality. High quality leather is sourced from traditional French tanneries in the area of Limousin – a region renowned for its cattle farms – as well as exotic materials that are sourced from areas as far-flung as Abu Dhabi, Japan or within the geographical borders of France.
And lastly each Maison Corthay bespoke shoe is made 100 per cent by hand in the brand’s time-honoured workshop located in Rue Volnay in Paris, using traditional Goodyear construction. Attention goes into every detail, with the focus going towards ‘creations’ rather than ‘collections’ across the maison’s product offering that includes shoes, belts and small leather goods.
As would be expected of a luxury shoemaker, there is an option for customers to personalise and customise their purchases. The ready-to-wear shoe collection includes 30 different models ranging from Oxfords to Derbys to loafers and many more, each with the option of clients being able to personalise their pair, whether through the choice of available leathers, colours, lining or piping.
The Bespoke service takes this to a different level, with all bespoke shoes being made in workshops in the heart of Paris. Fifty hours of skilled handwork go into producing each bespoke item that takes about 200 steps to complete. In addition, the maison’s craftsmen regularly travel the world in order to meet with its versatile and discerning clientele, ensuring that the Maison Corthay man is well heeled across the world.
Corthay Maisons are located in Paris, London, Tokyo, Dubai, Hong Kong, Seoul Beijing and Johannesburg. corthay.com
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