Gaziano and Girling patina shoes6

Last week was the launch of the new patina service at Gaziano & Girling on Savile Row. For anyone not familiar with the English shoemaking industry, this is a big step – for the first time, a Northampton maker is offering the same hand-painted finish that the French and Italian makers like Berluti, Santoni, Corthay and others have been known for.

Combine that with the traditional burnishing finish G&G already offers, plus the bleaching that is used to fade parts of the Deco line, and you have the complete package. This puts them ahead – in that respect – of all Northampton makers, most continental bespoke, and way out in front of the other English bespoke firms.

Gaziano and Girling patina shoes8

On the evening there was a little party with Thomas and Neus replicating some of the nine patinas that G&G will be offering in the store from now on. Starting from a plain tan base, they worked them up into dark-brown and green finishes respectively (Thomas’s before-and-after shown below).

As long-time readers will know, I’ve seen this done at a fair few makers over the years – even having a go myself on my Berlutis back in 2010. My favourite bit is when the second coat of colour is added, which requires the patineur to flick the brush lightly across the leather, adding a light layer without any hard lines from touching the sole or seams (also below).

Gaziano and Girling patina shoes3 Gaziano and Girling patina shoes

In terms of the details of the service, Gaziano & Girling is now offering to patina any pair of ready-made, made-to-order or bespoke G&G shoes, for a charge of £120 (including VAT). The nine colours are only suggestions, although the price may rise slightly if customers request something far more colours and work. Belts or other leathers can also be matched, though again that might be more complicated. The work will be done in-house by Thomas or Neus (both ex-Corthay) and should take no more than a week. 

Gaziano and Girling patina shoes4 Gaziano and Girling patina shoes7

I’ve had a couple of things painted by Thomas – my JM Weston whole-cuts, to give some variation to the plain brown they were made in, and my G&G Adelaides, to switch them to the dark brown they were originally intended to be. I can highly recommend it, though it’s worth saying that the shoes should still be regularly polished. Any patina is not a perfect, scratch-proof service, and it will gain in character with a little polishing now and again. The surface will also slowly dry and wear away if not looked after. 

Interestingly, shoes with a grain are among the hardest to patinate, because the leather has a treatment applied to make sure the (printed) grain is retained. The paint usually either sits on the surface (and therefore comes off fairly easily) or erodes the treatment and therefore causes separate problems. Worth avoiding.  
Gaziano and Girling patina shoes9

Images: Luke Carby

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I recently got a shoe darkened by Thomas. It was very light brown, vintage pine I think, which I had got from the G&G sale last month. I wanted it to be darkened to match the vintage oak colour, the end result was a lot darker than that as Thomas explained that the leather didn’t take the colour as he had expected so darkening it further was the best option. Its now a somewhat bronze shade which is still quite nice, with the strap (it was a single monk strap model) a shade lighter making for a nice overall effect. I look forward to seeing how it ages.

Simon, would you post the pictures of your darkened G&G Adelaides to compare before and after? I was thinking of getting an EG vintage chestnut changed closer to G&G vintage cedar, which i believe being darker will be more versatile but alas Thomas would only work with G&G! 🙂


Hi Simon, I think this is a really positive step for G&G. I’ve long admired the stunning colour profiles available at Berluti and Corthay and although my Berlutis are always finished dark brown or milk chocolate brown in patina, I often feel a little jealous of those that can ‘carry off’ the dark green, dark blue and maroon patinas! I also believe (maybe mistakenly) that there would be a good market for a company who were able to offer this special patina service to customers with any brand of shoe. I myself have some C&J and Church’s shoes I’m fond of but a little bored with and would be very happy to spend £100 on a great patina that would bring them back to life.


I’m sure that Simon would concur that such a company does exist –
They did a marvellous job with my old pair of Tricker’s

Rob o

Thanks Simon. I agree with DE: a patina service for workaday shoes would be great. I have some C&Js that are just a little bit too orange for my taste.


For us Londoners, a local patina company would be really handy. Dealing remotely is not always easy. I have used a patina artist in France before, quite reputable, while the end result was more or less ok, the service was terrible. I was told two weeks and it was nearly three months before I was able to getting shoes back. And that too after repeated phone calls, he wouldn’t respond to emails!


Would you comment on the quality of the JM Weston shoe. I have one pair and am considering purchasing several more.


Thanks. I’m thinking of getting the black and brown in the Demi chasse model. That a great shoe that is very versatile with an iconic design. I didn’t realize that the company owns it’s own tannery. I agree that the shoe is a good value given the quality of the leather and superb workmanship,very much under appreciated .

James Ducker

Carréducker also offers a patina service to its bespoke customers


Hi Simon,
Thanks for this post. This is indeed a great leap made by G&G! I just wonder what those who contributed to coin the “no brown in town” dictum would think of what we are experiencing today in matter of style! For sure, they would be utterly flabbergasted at our tastes!


Iam reading this in 2016 are there now more companys offering a patina service


Hi Simon,

sorry for digging up the archive, but I was looking for some kind of explanation on why shoes with blue or green (or any other) patina seem to be popular in high-end shoes. To me this looks absolutely ridiculous and I can absolutely not understand why they are considered beautiful. Especially because they are so clearly (and purposely) artificial and therefore against everything menswear enthusiast are usually after.

I don’t want to offend anyone with this, I just want to better understand what this is about. I can usually understand other aesthetic approaches in different areas of menswear, even if I wouldn’t wear them myself. But here I miss any connection. Often it seems to me as if this is purely about the skills of the craftsmen and less about a shoe that is meant to be worn.

Maybe you have a reading suggestion or some thoughts on this? Thank you.