Continuing the shoe theme of recent posts, above are my Gaziano & Girling bespoke adelaides after repatination from Thomas at the Savile Row store. (Adelaide refers to the U-shaped section around the laces. The G&G model is the St James II.)
The colour was meant to be brown originally (vintage oak), but was made up in tan (vintage cedar) by mistake – you can see the original post on the shoes here.
Mistakes happen, and it gave me an opportunity to try out the patination service on a pair of G&G shoes. The results are great, creating a pair of shoes that will be incredibly versatile – applicable for everything from smart chinos to navy suits.
There is quite a lot of variation in the colour, with the toe cap and heel almost black in colour, and significant darkening along the lines of broguing. I hadn’t anticipated that, asking for merely a copy of the G&G vintage-oak colour. However, it is both difficult to get that same effect through patination, and a shame. Difficult because the painting will never replicate the uniform finish of a dyed skin, with some burnishing, and a shame because patination can offer so much more in terms of variation and personality.
So my lesson for those considering a patinated finish is to expect it to be significantly different from a normal shoe finish – it will always look a little more ‘European’, a little flashier. But also that the patina will soften over time (my adelaides already have) with new layers of polish. If I continue to polish these with mid-brown polish, rather than black, the edges of the black areas will fade, and chips or scuffs will also take the brown colour. There’s still a lot you can control.
Another good post Simon – it is of particular interest to me that G&G produced a shoe in the wrong colour.
I have had a couple of issues with bespoke items in the past – one tailor made an entirely new coat without complaint, the other tried to alter/remake the ‘faulty’ coat despite the mistake and although it was much improved it was never as good as it should have been.
What is the usual course of action for a bespoke item that goes wrong and could you also advise as to how you work out these problems (should/might it affect the final cost)?
That’s a hard one. Most of the time they should remake it. And I should say that almost all makers I have ever tried have made some small mistake or other. The only time they don’t have to remake is if exactly the same effect can be achieved without it, or in some way you share the fault. But it can be frustrating on both sides
I’m afraid to say that in my opinion, they’ve taken a beautiful looking shoe and made it look much worse. A £4000 shoe now looks like a cheap Gucci “knock off”.
I actually saw you in these at the g&g patina evening. And in respect of the comment by Dennis they do look very natural in the flesh. I actually thought they were a brown shoe with just a heavy toe polish. Maybe a bit dark on the toe for my taste but the rest of the shoe still natural looking. Then again I was wearing blue g&g’s so what do I know about natural!! Sometimes standard oak can be slightly flat looking however so a very slight patina makes a big difference (in a good way) even if the shoe was done in the correct colour to start with. Never judge a shoe by its photos however.
You weren’t the guy who recognised me by them on Fleet Street last week as well were you?
Also, as I said, the patina does soften in time, so you have a little bit of control
I think I need to see some more photos, however at this stage I am sorry to say I preferred the slightly extrovert, rakish colour of the original shoes. They went so well with grey flannel. If anything I would have applied a very slight patination to give them more character, but only very little.
Thanks Rob. I know what you mean. I wanted brown ones though too because I already had the Bemers coming in tan….
Good point, the privilege of the few! 😉
This is an excellent choice of color! I love it and moreover its slightly taming effect on the shoe’s style, if that makes sense! I just wonder how they shall look like in the long run.
Thanks again for sharing!
Cheers John. Will post again at some point and show that softening
Would love to see some more detailed pics. It’s a bit difficult to really see the effect from that one shot
Yeah I know. Need to do some better ones at some point.
Isn’t wonderful to have this forum just to discuss shoes? Thank you Simon
They looked great before…Now they look spectacular!
May I ask 2 quick questions Simon considering how wonderful the adelaides turned out after patination:
Is patination worth the effort for a lessor pair of shoes? I have bought some Barkleys in recent years that I have never worn and in hindsight now, I wish that I had bought them in a different colour. Would it be worth the effort to have these repainted and indeed, would G+G perform this service for a shoe made by someone else?
My second question is just to clarify what you have said in this piece. If I understand you correctly, you would recommend polishing the oak brown adelaides in a black polish now to main a darker colour otherwise the patination will inevitably fade and result in lighter burnishing around the edges..? Is this right?
Keep up the good work.
The PS website has been a wonderful source of eduction and enlightenment these past few years..!
No, G&G wouldn’t do this for another brand, but you can use someone like The Jaunty Flaneur. See post here – worth bookmarking, as it has all our maintenance recommendations.
Yes that’s right, though always err on the side of caution with the black, and do ask the advice of whoever does the patination. How it fades can depend on what products they use, what layers, and what the base colour is.