I did allude to some news a while back, and now I can let the cat out of the bag – American Duchess and I have collaborated to bring you a truly remarkable shoe! “Stratford” is a reproduction 1600s shoe, suitable for both men and women from about the 1580s through to the 1630s. We both worked very hard to bring you this piece, and we’re terribly pleased to offer Stratford to you, designed by yours truly, and produced by American Duchess. Below, I provide some interim design stages and background about the process, but first, let me give you Stratford!
“Wait a moment,” you might say. “These look just like your past work, which you’ve documented in Lesson 8!”
Exactly. =) Still curious? Click below…
You see, when we first started out on our collabroation, we provided pictures and descriptions to produce some samples. This was kind of a feasibility study to find out if what we had envisioned could be achieved. Our first prototype looked distinctly modern, and very different from what we had in mind.
We set to work detailing specifics, based on pictures and extant pieces, to approach a more period model. As you can see, we still had some difficulties, but we were definitely headed in the right direction. The heel shape and vamp is different, there is visible stitching, and we incorporated the slashing into the vamp and the quarters. The hole created by the straps is also considerably smaller.
After a great deal of discussion, we realized we might slowly continue inching, step by painful step, towards our goal unless we simply provided them a model to work off of. So, I crafted this pair of shoes to use as a “golden model” for reference.
All right! Now that we had a point of reference to refer back to, the next incarnation was far closer to our vision. You can see that there is now a very sturdy sole which continues the entire length of the front part and down the top piece, the stitching is robust and bold, and the rand thickness is more appropriate to the original. Gone were the metal eyelets which are a dead give-away for any period piece, and the heel shape is much closer to the original. This is finally starting to look right! There were a couple of slight glitches here and there in the stitching and in the shape of the heel, but we knew we were very close. One more go-around ought to do it.
After the final polish, we came up with the final sample. The heel slope was emboldened, and the stitching improved as you can see.
Our goal was to provide a shoe which incorporated the key elements of the period shoe – slashing pattern, slightly blunt but rounded toe, thick and continuous sole, limited exterior stitching, and a thick treadsole stitching. We wanted to combine it with modern comfort, durability, and availability, all at a reasonable price point. We hope that you’ll enjoy it as much as we do!
You might have gotten to the bottom of this post, thinking, “How can I order a pair!?” Perhaps there might even be a puddle of drool on your keyboard or tablet. Not to fear – this will be available soon. However, you can certainly expedite things by voting on American Duchess’ blog, and letting her know that you want Stratford to be the December shoe! Click on The December Shoe Vote, and cast your vote accordingly. All of the models are lovely, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Stratford is going to beat them all by a large margin. =)