A talk with Phillip Car of Saint Crispin's August 22 2016
In an earlier blog post we mentioned the Austrian/Romanian shoemaker Sant Cripin's, a firm focusing mainly on made-to-order and bespoke shoes. Our store manager Gabriel had a chance to ask Phillip Car a few questions.
SKOAB: Tell us about your role and responsibilities at Saint Crispin’s…
PC: I am the owner, operatively in charge for sales, development and strategy.
How was the company of Saint Crispin’s founded and initiated?
It was founded by my cousin in 1992 out of a bespoke shoemaking company.
How were you introduced and involved in the business?
I was asked to join the company in 2002 to initiate a first pret a porter collection next to the bespoke line.
Tell us about your first experience with handmade shoes.
Very early, I was as 17 when I got my first Saint Crispin’s bespoke pair from my cousin and nearly died financially because my own cousin charged me the full price for it.
How would you describe your shoe wardrobe?
I wear mostly elastic sided Chelsea boots in suede and our signature shoe, the model 108, French Norwegian apron Derby in a dark blue.
What do you find most rewarding with your job?
Travelling all around the world and meeting very interesting people who share the same passion for the craft as I do.
If you only could wear one pair of shoes for the rest of your life, what model and color would it be and why?
A lower, elastic sided Chelsea boot in light sand suede.
Describe a normal day at work.
Half of the year I am abroad meeting customers, if not I am in Vienna in contact with my team to discuss orders, new developments, internals and strategies. A part of my day is to answer questions from partners, retailers and customers personally. Sometimes I am answering later but I always do this myself to stay in contact with the people who are wearing Saint Crispin’s.
If you would describe the shoes and craftwork of Saint Crispin’s in 1-2 sentences, how would that sound?
I only need one: Saint Crispin’s shoes are real hand made shoes in combination with the perfect design and fit.
What recommendations can you give people trying to find their first pairs of really high quality shoes?
Choose an Oxford pair and buy only one pair at once, wear it, tell your experience and then go on with more. Choose no extravagant color or clownish style. Get the big picture in terms of fit, style and comments you get.
Why is it so important with proper and continuous shoe care?
Why is it important to put oil into a car?
Describe the perfect shoe wardrobe.
This depends on the person himself, in my opinion there is only the individual look that’s always appropriate. You must feel authentic and confident. I just want to quote here Hugo Jacomet (The Parisian Gentleman): First you must learn the rules, then break them. And I see this confirmed all over the world: Some guys were only black, some never, there are guys who only wear monks, some only loafers, others only full brogue oxfords. And you immediately see: Looks like a perfect wardrobe (for that particular guy).
Written by Gabriel, Store Manager at Skoaktiebolaget