norman vilalta

Norman Vilalta
 is one of my favourite bespoke artisans. Enthusiastic, talented and down-to-earth. His creations can often be fantastical, but he also does a nice line in conservative shoes with little touches of personality. 

Earlier this year we had a fitting on a pair of bespoke boots he is making me. The fitting was fine – a little big in the heel, but nothing we can’t easily fix, particularly given that Norman usually does two fittings. The rest of the hour, however, was spent in a very entertaining design session. 

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I had originally suggested an ankle boot with both laces and a strap element. To an extent, the strap was supposed to be practical – in a hurry, it could do as a fastening to the boot rather than lacing it all the way up. Whether due to airport security, or simply trying to get the kids out of the door, such short-cuts often seem to come in useful. 

As I talked, Norman drew. Two quick flicks for the sole and waist; a sleek toe and curve up the ankle; the suggestion of a heel with three more lines. With that shape in place, he would begin adding buckles in various arrays. Sometimes they were simple, others ludicrously complicated. A few were pretty conservative, one or two completely impractical.

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Looking back now at the pile of sketches we accumulated, I’m surprised that none of them come close to the design we settled on. That was a laced derby, with a single wide strap across it that mimicked that of a riding boot.

The next fitting should resemble something akin to that design, so I’ll post it then.

Norman launched a small RTW collection in the Barcelona store Santa Eulalia earlier this year, by the way. You can see the designs here.  

norman vilalta bespoke shoe