Thursday, February 9, 2012
A pair of pigskin momentos of the late Alexis, Baron de Redé, who, as I have mentioned in the past, had so many Cleverley shoes that the firm named a slip-on shoe after him (actually they named two of them after him despite the confusion that engenders), arrived this past week.
I will be the first to point out that the shoes have tassels and that detail relegates them to odd jackets and gray flannel trousers in my book. One should after all be an attorney, Nicholas Sarkozy (who adopted tassels along with much of the French right in the 1980s) or much more of a preppy than I am these days to wear tassels with suits except perhaps once in a while during the summer. But, even if the shoes were free of decoration, the pigskin itself would relegate them to informality.
Pigs are aggressive animals, with skin scarred and otherwise damaged from their social interaction. In addition, the grain side of those less than perfect skins is pitted. and the pits of the grain do not take the dye that gives them color very well (these were dyed after they were made). The result is a variegated surface, though one that is usually less obvious than it is under the spotlight used for these particular photos. It is that same variegated surface, so much more interesting than the regularity of machine-stamped calfskin for example, that is the principal reason to wear the stuff.
Cleverley did good.