Foster & Son - Black is Back
Foster & Son 1840
Foster & Son of Jermyn Street, London is an English maker of bespoke and ready-to-wear shoes that was established in 1840. It is the oldest bespoke English shoemaker in London.
Foster & Son's house style is known as West End - described as a "relaxed yet refined look", exemplified by the famous chisel toe that was created for a bespoke order by Foster's master last maker Terry Moore in the 1960s; the decade when Foster & Son also introduced ready-to-wear to their bespoke line.
Foster's bespoke shoes are hand crafted using the finest leathers above the Jermyn Street shop. A precise process that involves rigorous attention to detail.
Black or Brown? Let's Ask Foster & Son
Influenced by a trip to Madrid in my youth, I went a bit mad on brown shoes for a while. They like a brown shoe in Madrid, even with navy suits. Was the expression "never wear brown in town" about suits or shoes or both? No matter, it means nothing to the stylish Madrileño chap, brimming with Latin rodomontade, hair shining with gomina.
In recent years the brown shoe has gained popularity as a formal choice in the UK. Was it a sign we were starting to lose our natural reservation and go a little continental? Perhaps, but in these uncertain times it seems the wearing of black shoes is back. I asked our friends at Foster & Son for their thoughts. What they told me confirmed my suspicion:
"What we are seeing at Foster & Son is a noticeable move back towards 1950's styles. Young men want to dress like their grandfathers. Smart, conservative even.
The classic black calf Oxford has always been an essential feature of any well-stocked wardrobe and today we are seeing renewed interest in that more restrained and subtle styling.
Overall we sell 2 or 3 pairs of black shoes for every one in the other colours, so black is definitely the most popular choice."
Tweedy's Thought: When in doubt it's better to dress like your grandfather. Infinitely better, if you want to be taken seriously, than dressing like a three-year-old Californian boy - hoodie, baseball cap, shorts, Converse pumps and so on.
Black Beauty - The Aston
Take a look at that beauty at the top. It's Foster & Son's Aston, a penny loafer with chisel toe that's based on a 1960s bespoke shoe design that Terry Moore was involved in from his time at Peal and Co. It's been reworked and is now available ready-to-wear. I'm almost salivating.
Tweedy's Fact: Peal and Co. was a London shoemaker founded in 1741. The business closed in 1965, after which Terry Moore and the old Peal 'Fox and Boot' logo were incorporated into Foster & Son.
Foster & Son - Luggage and Accessories
Foster & Son also produce leather luggage and accessories. The example briefcase above is made with bridle leather, all stress points reinforced with hand stitching. I'm sure it's available in black.