Unlike several of their neighbors around Savile Row, the George Glasgows, senior and junior, of shoemakers G.J. Cleverley & Co. made it out of Heathrow before the Icelandic ash closed down air travel. They are in the United States for their semi-annual month-long travelling trunk show, and brought with them a couple of old ideas.
The firm is principally a bespoke shoemaker of course, and it also offers a line of well-priced machine-made shoes that sell like mad in Japan. Its newest venture is the 2009 introduction of the Anthony Cleverley line of hand-made shoes on standard lasts, and that has been a wild success as these things go. Cleverley is already sold out for the next eighteen months.
There being no good news without some form of price to be paid, an eighteen month backlog leaves the Anthony Cleverley version of George Sr.'s favorite shoe, the faux laced elastic sided slipon popularized by Winston Churchill, to the extent that the word popular applies to something that has never been made except one at a time, up in the air.
The Anthony Cleverley line has taken off so quickly because it is probably the best constructed not-quite-bespoke shoe in the Western world, sewn entirely by hand in Cleverley's own workrooms. And at 950 GBP or approximately $1,500 ex VAT inclusive of lasted shoe trees, an Anthony Cleverley model costs roughly half the price of the same shoe made on a bespoke last. That is outstanding value if the standard shoe fits.
The upshot of this popularity is that customers will not be seeing new Anthony Cleverley models based on designs dating from the first half of the twentieth century, like the kielty slip-on in the photo, this year as originally planned.
But what was old will eventually become new again.