There was a time, when I was a student abroad where I anticipated the autumn season with baited breath as the prospect of falling leaves provides us the opportunity for crunching/stomping the yellowed leaves with our feet. It's just a part of our 'tropical kids' mentality of watching American TV shows come Christmas season in Malaysia, where the setting would obviously be revolving around the fall/winter season and there was almost always the clichéd sight of falling maple leaves which is gradually replaced by the scene of pristine white snow. Of course the curiosity of experiencing the exact situation is only unravelled by traveling half the globe and finding out that there is actually more mud and slosh rather than pristine white snow. Ah, the naïveté of a teenager...
But needless to say I had the time of my life stomping dried leaves around the campus grounds with the good old Clarks shoes. What about now, when I have reached the phase of my life where my earning allows the possibility to purchase 'better' footwear (not really to say I have a handsome payment but being single at least allows me to live quite 'luxuriously')? Unquestionably visiting showrooms of established luxury footwear labels like Church's and Car Shoe (both owned by Prada Group) is not a good idea for my feeble attempt to abstain from more frivolous purchases. But of course my seemingly untameable shopping habit is actually further propelled by the visit to these showrooms during last winter's Milanese trip. A question inevitably arises: one could have more earning, but as a consequence less time to enjoy the fruits of the labor - so in this case, I could possibly purchase the luxury footwear, but I'm pretty sure there will be no time to walk around in them, crunching/stomping on dried yellow leaves...
A well-known purveyor of quintessentially British handmade footwear the Church’s brand was founded in 1873 by Thomas Church and his three sons, based on family experience in the production of handmade men’s shoes since 1675. For fall 2013 collection Church's still mainly adheres to its classic DNA but with a tweak here and there: variations in textural qualities and rich colour predominate, including the leopard print in different colour ways (a variable mix compared to Burberry Prorsum versions). The velvet slippers in the rich autumnal tones is a classic formula to attract the dandies of the world. The collection also offers nifty little accessories like cuff links, brightly coloured leather shoes horns and keychains. But my firm favourite is the studded brogues (Church's version trumps other brands!).
Car Shoe was founded in 1963 by Gianni Mostile, whose passion for racing cars led him to design handmade moccasins made from very soft leather and soles set on tiny rubber studs to enhance adherence to car pedals and were particularly suitable for driving sports cars. The brand (together with Tod's) are responsible for those ubiquitous driving shoes trend that we see on the street today. Apart from the classic driving shoes Car Shoe is also jumping on the camo bandwagon and the result is a rugged yet refined look (a hipster alternative to the traditional Car Shoe models that will most likely grab the attention of menswear streetstyle bloggers). The ruggedness, more street-driven look is also present as worker's boots with chunky tractor-like soles. There are also variations of texture in the forms of pony hair, croc, snake and ostrich skin, probably embossed. But my favourite from the collection is the oil-tinged shoes in different shades - the most creative product from their fall offerings, I feel.
Words and images by Hafidzudin Zainal