In the spotlight

The Gusborne

26 July 2023

Let’s turn our attention to a very formal, but oh-so lovely and a bit dandy, shoe. The Gusborne is just a bit Gatsby, very much Fred Astaire and just a tad – ok, maybe a little bit more than a tad – jazz era. They are two-tone but not in your classic spectator way, as the Gusborne does not feature any brogue-style perforations. It’s more of a slick and stylish classic Oxford.

I think we need to take them in turn. First the black and white calf version with the contrasting black laces. This is your jazz-age shoe, reminiscent of the spats era when mainly men wore a felt guard around the ankle to protect their shoes and socks from inclement weather and muddy conditions. White spats were then seen at formal occasions with George V leading the way. Over the pond, Chicago gangsters were using them to express their wealth and status. Their popularity began to decline in 1920s, but the idea of a black and white shoe was still alive.

The jazz era loved its black and white shoes, often seeing them converted into tap shoes for the likes of Fred Astaire. As a style icon, you cannot go to wrong with Fred. Always dapper; always classy. 

If you want to lend some 1950s swing to your black-tie attire, then these could do the trick. No-one is asking you to tap dance, but they would not doubt you if you said you could! Hey, that’s not to say you need to restrict them to black-tie use only. If you want to resurrect the gangster look then be our guest.

The brown and white calf version is more suitable for the daytime and any occasion where you would wear a more classic spectator shoe. However, the Gusborne will stand out due to its lack of fussy detail. Made in a classic toe-cap Oxford style, it really is eye-catchingly sleek. Combined with a navy or beige suit or trousers, the Gusborne will just ooze sophistication and elegance.

The Gusborne was made exclusively for us by the clever craftsmen at the Carlos Santos factory in Portugal using the Z160 last to give it its very elegant shape with a chiselled toe box. Their hand-finishing also emphasises the toe cap and the seams, to give this shoe a wonderful three-dimensional quality that flat colours cannot equal.

Lastly, they have a Goodyear-welted leather sole, so you can repair them to ensure you can wear them for many dancing days to come. These shoes are used to being in the spotlight. They deserve their place in our In The Spotlight collection.

1 Comment

  • Reply Lukacs 3 August 2023 at 7:01 pm

    Caz, thank you for this wonderful spotlight on the Gusborne. This is a handsome Oxford, and seeing it, I prefer the clean lines as opposed to broguing on the black and white version. There sre still many men who will appreciate that look and who will wear these with appropriate attire. However, I think the brown version could be paired with cream or off-white, instead of white, and broguing on the brown version would be acceptable, since brown is a less formal color by nature. Something like that would be worn with attire that is less formal as well. Thank you for covering this wonderful design.

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