Septième Largeur

Septième Largeur à Paris

Nearly a month ago to the day, I awoke at 5am to the sound of the onomatopoeic tap tap tap on my bedroom window due to the anticipated London rain. Rather than be enveloped by despair, I took it positively as being nature telling me to get ready – after all, I was going to Paris just for the day!

Arriving at the Gare du Nord from St Pancras must be one of the easiest cross-border metropolitan excursions to make in the world. On this occasion, Eurostar security was efficient and my seat was better than adequate, even in standard class.

Upon arrival, a hop on a bus a few stops away and a short walk took me to French patina shoe heaven that is Septième Largeur (“SL”) on Rue Saint-Lazare. It was here 18 months ago that Mathieu Preiss (co-founder and chief patina artist at SL), guided me through my first bespoke patina experience. With great luck, a conscientious member of staff introduced me to Mathieu and for over an hour I had his undivided attention to choose the shoes and patina I wanted. Having abandoned the idea of a particular model whose last was not cordial with my feet, an even better, if unanticipated option was chosen and I am happy to say are looking even better with age.

My second venture there was with the purpose of procuring a pair of their “Miro” souliers (shoes) with the intention to patinate them with an antiquated and graduated tobacco hue with obligatory, yet well-priced embauchoirs (shoe trees). As Mathieu was not present, I had the pleasure of being served by Victor Bastié who was equally well-placed to assist me in my quest for the Miro loafers. I asked him what the difference was between the two Miro lasts available, and he stated that the first is one with traditional stitching which is seen on the exterior vamp of the shoe, whereas the Miro RS was the reverse-stitched option. The reverse-stitching was certainly different to any shoes that I had witnessed before and so I decided that that was the model for me.

After trying out the last pair of their Miro RS in UK size 8 (as their lasts tend to be a half size larger than my usual size), I felt that the strangely off-white shoes were crying out for colour and character. With many multi-directional steps on the shop floor to ascertain the creasing and fit of the shoes, they were even better than the previous oxfords I had purchased and even fit the contours of my feet as perfectly as I could have wished for.

Thereafter, Victor and I sifted through many categorised photographs on a retina pin-sharp computer screen to help me decide and communicate to him exactly what I wanted. The plethora of options and the first steps available to achieve the end finish astonished me, as to use a green first base coat followed by subsequent brown coats, or whether to use multiple hues of brown would produce a different effect. I chose somewhere in between two photographed examples and asked for extra details of a darker facing (at the top of the instep) and toes to give depth and richness to it.

With only three to four weeks required to receive many hours worth of painstakingly, patiently and detailed hand-applied patination, I waited dutifully whilst having constant updates from Victor by email in the last week as to any modifications I required to obtain my exact wishes in the crucial patina.

With tracked and signed-for international postage at a mere 20 Euros from Paris to London, I carefully made my incision on the outer packaging to get to the subtle eponymous Septième Largeur logo and carefully extract the shoes out of their secure box. With an extra matching crimson shoe cloth to keep the carefully wrapped shoes in their matching shoe bags in place, SL never ceases to impress me as to the detail and care they go to for their customers – much like those in the ultra-premium price bracket that charge quadruple the price!

Every aspect was just as I imagined or better, with the unique reverse-stitching exquisitely playing to the request of the burnished and darkened toes and sides of the shoes. With even the soles of the souliers not able to escape a hand-finished patina, I cannot wait for the next masterpiece!

 Septieme Largeur MIRO RS - Patinated 02 Septieme Largeur MIRO RS - Patinated 03 Septieme Largeur MIRO RS - Patinated 04 Septieme Largeur MIRO RS - Patinated 05 Septieme Largeur MIRO RS - Patinated 06 Septieme Largeur MIRO RS - Patinated 07

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