The Parisian shoemaker Corthay stands apart from many of its contemporaries simply because its creations are distinguishable from a mile away – its visual identity is as strong as Versailles' foundations and as alluring as one of Monet’s impressionist works. As a result, we're extremely pleased to now have a range of ready-to-wear shoes crafted by Corthay available here at The Hand.
Founded by Pierre Corthay in 1990, from a young age, he had aspirations of being involved in the world of craftsmanship and reaching its heights. To do so, he enrolled at the Compagnons du Devoir, a prestigious French organisation dating back to the Middle Ages. Its purpose is to nurture talented, passionate, yet relatively inexperienced craftspeople by taking them on a 'Tour de France' whereby as apprentices, they learn artisanal skills within esteemed companies every six months. First, Pierre studied at John Lobb, which was then followed by a stint at Berluti, two Titans of high-end shoemaking lauded for exquisite craftsmanship and compelling design. So, with first-class experience in savoir-faire, he had established a solid foundation for charting his own path and creating his own legacy as a shoemaker. This was cemented in 2008 when he received the distinction of "Master of Art" shoemaker for men from the French Minister of Culture, and to this day, he is the sole holder of such a noble title.
As previously mentioned, Corthay's design language is unequivocally unique and refreshing. Much of this is due to the fact that when Pierre launched his eponymous brand, he wasn't restricted by centuries of heritage with traditions to abide by like many age-old shoemakers. Instead, his shoes are expressions of divine creativity inspired by his time spent travelling and fondness for the avant-gardism of Japanese artistic culture. With elongated lasts accented with chiselled toes, the shapes crafted by Pierre and his team provide striking canvases for dazzling patina work, which is applied by hand layer by layer in a painstakingly slow process, much like a painter works away on a freshly-primed canvas. Furthermore, they feature artisanal work of the highest calibre, such as hand-sewing, sculpted bevelled waists and deftly-pitched heels.
As an introduction to Corthay, we now have five different models available at The Hand, including its signature two-eyelet derby Arca which is rendered from an arresting gunmetal leather. In a similar stylistic vein, there are two single-monk straps called the Arca Buckle, available in ebony and lieu de vin. Next, there's a double-monk strap named Twin, which is crafted from a classic dark brown suede. Lastly, there's Bella, a chic Chelsa boot in dark brown calf leather with an aesthetic that's befittingly Parisian.
Shop Corthay, here.