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HANDMADE

A MASTER OF LEATHER Pierre Corthay, the artistic director of the shoemaker Maison Corthay, talks about his passion for his craft

ierre Corthay discovered a love of leather as a child. Though the company has an extensive ready-to-wear line, the “The material combined a lot of things—first the bespoke shoe service is the root of the business. A bespoke shoe sensuality when you touch it, then the smell, the versatility, from Maison Corthay takes six to seven months to produce. A its softness. I truly love everything about leather,” says the artistic craftsman measures the client’s feet and returns three months later director of Maison Corthay, the luxury men’s footwear company. with a trial shoe, which can be further adjusted to accommodate His early fascination with the material prompted him to join for fit and comfort. Another three months is required for the finished the prestigious French guild of craftsmen, Les Compagnons du product. After the first fitting, the customer’s measurements are Devoir, to develop his leathermaking skills. He spent six years then archived in Paris, making it easier to produce other pairs in the working as an apprentice, honing his craft and travelling all over future. Celebrity fans of the brand’s colourful and exquisitely made France to different workshops. Learning to make shoes requires footwear include Clive Owen, Cate Blanchett and Rafael Nadal. being skilled in four areas: wood-carving, patternwork, stitching The brand’s main market is Asia but the Middle East is quickly and rubber but Corthay says the most important thing he learned growing. “I feel our Middle Eastern clientele is very sophisticated from that time was “patience and humility”. and understands our products and the fact that we are different. It is this passion for quality craftsmanship that Corthay brings The bespoke part is very appealing as it is an opportunity to to his eponymous shoe range, which he started after spending have a unique made-to-measure product, the ultimate luxury,” time at Berluti and John Lobb. says Corthay. “I really wanted Maison Corthay to be the point where creativity, The brand’s Dune sandal is an interpretation of a traditional aesthetics and skill meet,” he says. men’s sandal from the region, composed “I like to create a fascinating fusion between of 100 per cent camel leather sourced from “We are the first French Abu Dhabi. traditional know-how and sophisticated avant garde dressing.” Corthay is the only men’s “We are the first French luxury brand to luxury brand to source shoemaker to have been awarded the title source camel leather from the Middle East camel leather from the Maitre d’Art (Master of Art), a distinction and create unique products,” says Corthay. Middle East and create bestowed upon him by the French Ministry “That makes me very proud and it is my way of Culture in 2009. of paying a tribute to the region.”

unique products”

2016 MAY / JUNE

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Global Citizen 32  

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