Thursday, 6 October 2011
A love story
The search is over! They've been on the top of my shoe-wishlist for years: They had to be from the 40s, have a distinct but not too high heel (6-7 cm), lace up, be suitable for colder weather. Unless I wanted to spend a fortune on taxes and custom for shoes I didn't even know would fit, by buying from etsy or ebay, they seemed be impossible to find. But now they're standing next to me looking lovely =)
The short version of how I got them: Umeå may be a small town but we have an amazing shoemaker, Mr Löfström. He adores vintage shoes, came by these by chance and sold them to me. Read on for a longer version of the story, or just enjoy the pictures =)
I heard through the grapevine (yes, Facebook) that shoemaker Löfström was selling a lot of vintage shoes from an old lady. Off I went in search of pretty shoes, but discovered upon my arrival that they were all too new for me, mostly 70s and 80s. He showed me some of them, and I agreed they were in great condition and very cute, but explained they just were not my style.
Pointing at the shoes I was wearing I explained that I needed my everyday shoes to be orthopaedic, and for dressing up I preferred that style, pointing instead to his beautiful collection of unused, mint-condition 30s and 40s shoes (Which I already knew was not for sale, regardless of the price offered, they are for show only. A true shoe-lover!). He showed me a pair left by another client for a new sole and heel, explaining how vintage shoes needed to be treated to that unless the sole would be ruined when worn outside (old leather fall apart eventualy. Trust me, I've done that to a pair of 60s shoes...)
He then hesitated a bit, judged my reaction, weighed how I was dressed, and said slowly... "I do have a remarkable pair of 40s shoes in the storage. A lady came in to have the soles done for outside-wear, I offered to buy them to have for my show-collection, but she'd rather wear them. So I gave them a new sole and heel, she picked them up. A few days later she came back: the shoes were a tad too small. Did I still want to buy them? They were too beautiful for me to pass over, so I bought them. But they're no longer original, and can't go in my collection... Do you want me to take them here for you to try on?". Did I?!!!
Yesterday, I tried them on and they were perfect. Perfect! Not tight, not loose, beautiful and oh so comfortable to walk in! So I of course asked how much he wanted, and he hesitated, starting to almost talk himself into not selling them (I swear it wasn't a salestrick - you could tell the notion of letting them go was almost painful to him) so before he succeded in doing that I told him of my love for vintage and vintage craftmanship. When I told him of the coat I'm tailoring from a 1951 pattern, he changed his mind and gave me a price. He said that he hoped to one day see them worn, so I promised to swing by in full vintage gear =)
And now they're all mine! Two amazing features on them, besides the fabulous collar and the leafs on the ties, is the shape of the heel. Look at any true 30s and 40s shoes, and you'll notice they flat out at the heel, the angle different depending on the height of the heel. Modern shoes just aren't shaped that way, which is a pity. Wonder why they stopped... Another nice touch is the flannel lining, making them nice and warm, perfect for our not too hot northern weather.
Looking at them, I still can't believe they're real, or that they're really mine =)