Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The 'Benson Shoes ' Penny Loafer: Elegance re-visited !

Living in the Antwerp region of Belgium, and being an avid shoe-lover, not a shoe-fetishist (!), I sometimes have difficulties finding the nice shoes I want, yet at a decent price. I recently re-discovered Benson shoes, close to where I work now in the center of our capital city: Brussels.
They offer the kind of cosmopolitan shoes I like, yet at affordable prices, a very good quality, and   (mostly) good-year welted versions. Classic basics: With the elegant lasts I like. Like their elegant contemporary version of the suede penny-loafer I’m wearing this summer….: Elegant, sophisticated, in a nice soft suede that goes perfectly well with so many pants and colors. A lot of people complimented me on them. 
Penny loafers are often best paired with a suit or slacks and a blazer, but this pair of brown suede loafers look excellent dressed down, as with a pair of tailored jeans and a polo. Or as I prefer to wear them, with white pants and a nave blazer. It reminds me of an elegance that is mostly seen in Southern Europe. This pair is a Blake stitching. It is the model that asks for it. A sleek elegant loafer like this one doesn’t ask for a sturdy Goodyear welted construction.
Yet now that the next season has approached the shop (there is one in Brussels, and one in  Waterloo), those other classics approach again.

I’m talking about those classics like their great single monk; which can be found here

Their ever-iconic and versatile chukka 2112 right here


Or, for example, the chestnut oxford: 
Mr. Gianasso (Raphaël, what’s in a name), one of the owners, giving that ever joyful reception in the Brussels store, talks with passion about the Benson brand. Made in Morocco, by the same factory / atelier that makes the shoes for Maroccon military officers. 
Close and good relationships matter, even so that the atelier makes them especially to Benson’s specifications.
Their website,  www.benson-shoes.be is reachable in French, English and Dutch. Well documented, easy to navigate, just how we like it. Benson shoes represent to me the classics, but also those same classics, adapted to contemporary needs and looks.  
And if you’re not able to visit their store in Brussels or Wavre, their webshop works excellent. Sizes are ‘true-to-size’. Which means, and I’ll explain it with an example, that a 43 is a 43. For me it is. In some brands I have a 44, other brands offer a 42. I even have a 45. But here, I keep having my 43, as usual. And isn’t that what most gentlemen want ? Their usual size, without thinking about it…
"Penny Loafer" type loafer. Blake stitching leather sole. Stylish and relax.
This model realized on shape “19788” offers a classic fit. You can choose your usual size.
The suede is soft and souple, yet thick enough. Finish is excellent with no stitches sticking out, perfect symmetry in design, and the inside soft and clean cut. Wear is comfortable, as a loafer should be;

Leatherware: suede   /   Sole: leather   /   Construction : Blake stitching
Reference : 7889   /   Shape : 19788



They also support a nice range of socks, belts and maintenance products.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Buckle Loafer by Brogues Shoemakers

Elegant shoes are important. Loafers are elegant. But there are so many models.... then there are models that stand out, and add a part of personality and originality. This excellent model is inspired by French & Italian designs to recreate a new model. It is handmade in fine, yet robust, calfskin and custom painted to get that personal patina.
Only the most carefully selected leathers are used, combining the best of contemporary design with superb quality.

It takes 5-6 weeks to make a great pair of shoes, involving around 250 highly skilled operations from cutting the leather, stitching the sole, through to finishing. Besides, many other traditional shoe-making methods are still employed, including slow natural drying and polishing. This is why the shoes have a unique quality that no machine can ever match.
This pair is made using the Blake Construction (a.k.a. The McKay Method)

Lyman Reed Blake invented the machine in 1856 to make this method possible and later sold it to Gordon McKay. It is a simple process of joining the sole directly with the shoe’s upper with a large strong stitch. This makes the sole thinner than the goodyear welted shoes because they do not need an intermediate layer connecting the shoe sole to the shoe upper.

Advantages: Ease of construction, sole flexibility, and sleeker, more fashionable shoes (which the Italians are famous for).
Many shoes made with Blake construction are of lower quality BUT there are many good makers who utilize this technique and are worth considering. Blake construction is most popular among some famous Italian shoemakers, who dominate the high-end leather shoe market.
Nice finish and detailing

This pair also has some genuine stitching on the outside bottom of the soles. A nice detail is the cross stitching on the upper. And what I like a lot about them is the elegant last. Not all loafers offer that. The hand finished personal patina and marvelous colors add to their appeal.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

N°23 Dark Tobacco: Affordable Distinction by The Master Perfumers of Kruidvat

In The Master Perfumer Line of Kruidvat, they introduced the new perfume of Dark Tobacco N° 23 (Eau de Toilette). The scent is a distinguished mix of Iris, Leather and Amber. It’s a sweet-gourmand scent. And obviously projection and longevity are above-average.
It has a sweet undertone, yet classical, but releasing a sensual warm ‘aroma’, teasing the nose to more intimacy. Although not a scent for the younger guy, in my opinion, unless he wears a classic suit. However, for the stylish guy, there’s no age limit. A fresh undertone of the iris, strengthened by the masculine aspect of the leather, and fixed by the typical amber give it a strong character. A true gentleman’s scent, to be worn with distinction. Not sporty at all, but with a true distinction and a certain maturity.  Very masculine and stylish.


A good scent doesn’t have to be that expensive all the time: The Master Perfumer line of Kruidvat is proof of that. It’s a great initiative fromKruidvat, hiring the world’s most famous ‘noses’ to create affordable scents. And above that…. The Master Perfumer line of Kruidvat is very affordable, but therefore nonetheless very classy. In that price-range, definitively one of my favorites !
more info on www.kruidvat.be



Saturday, June 18, 2016

Piaget Emparador: Cushion shaped watch

The Piaget Emperador cushion-shaped watch, 42 mm. Case in 18K pink gold. Dial with hour markers in 18K pink gold. Sapphire crystal case back. Manufacture Piaget 850P self-winding mechanical movement with small seconds, date and dual time zone.
 Case Size: 42 mm
Gender: Gents
Movement: Automatic
Functions: Hours, Minutes, Small Seconds, Date, Dual Timezone, Day/Night Indicator
Power Reserve: 72 Hours
Case Materials: 18K Rose Gold
Caliber: Cal.850P
Case Back: Transparent (See-Through)
Dial Color: Blue
Band Type: Leather
Clasp Type: Tang
Description: Piaget Emperador Cushion Dual Time Zone Watch, cushion-shaped 18K pink gold case (42mm diameter) with transparent caseback
more info on www.piaget.com

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