I've been a customer at Corthay since 2007. Nine years ago I fell in love, like many gentlemen around the world, with the brand's seminal model – the sublime two eyelet ARCA derby that has been Corthay's best ambassador for a while now.
There's a lot to be said about why this model became so significant in the market, when it first debuted in the mid-2000's. Corthay’s Arca became a classic for its distinct flamboyance and for the subtle balance of its visual elements, ranging from the extended tongue spilling across the instep to the chiseled tip of the last which while narrow, highlights the lingering vamp of the shoe.
As a unique design with a strong personality, many tried to imitate the shoe, but never could match the sly and elegant simplicity of the model. In my opinion, Corthay's Arca is one of the most recent "classic" models out there, in the truest sense of the term, standing on even ground with Lobb's double-monk strap William, J.M. Weston's "Janson de Sailly" 180, Berluti's Alessandro, Church's Grafton and George Cleverley's Churchill.
What sets the Arca apart is its quasi-peerless versatility which allows the model to remain relevant no matter the patina or the occasion – whether worn with jeans and a sports jacket or the most formal wear.
I bought my first pair of Arcas nine years ago and the pair is still up to the task, not yet faltering or suffering for the need to be re-soled. The only maintenance to date has included a change of toe irons and heel maintenance. But credit is due where it is due: under the artful hand of my friend Paulus Bolten, my Corthay shoes have received an occasional professional polish to help them age well and develop an engaging natural patina.
I love Corthay, born from Pierre Corthay's original passion, talent, flair and tenacity. This is a company who does things its own way and is not interested in being influenced by, or diverted from its singular stylistic decisions.
Where as many (excellent) shoe brands in today's booming market at a similar price range (e.g., Gaziano & Girling, Edward Green, John Lobb) cater to large populations with vast collections to meet most every stylistic niche, Corthay keeps the menu short, almost to a fault.
You may consider such a short menu a blunder, but Corthay's strategy is not to please everyone, but instead to speak directly to the customer-base niche whom passionately loves Corthay shoes.
As a self-confessed Corthay addict, I own four pairs of Arcas (my original pair, another in black patent leather and two single-buckle monks), three pairs of Vendômes brogues (black, brown and olive green) and a pair of Belphegor.
As you might have guessed, I'm partial to the model for the “je ne sais quoi ” factor - a specialty Corthay has mastered. The Vendôme, for example, is one of the only brogues on the market to feature its wingtip placed very far towards the tip of the shoe – a twist that elongates the appearance of the foot and adds visual punch to an otherwise classic model.
As usual, Corthay brings with its A/W 2016/17 collection, new models with bold stylistic choices.
In this new delivery, Corthay introduces (at last !!) the brand’s first double-monk strap with slight asymmetrical placement and scaling of the buckles…in keeping with the brand's habit of standing apart from the crowd.
Check out the PG selection of Corthay's 2016/2017 collection here and remember to click the photos for closer details :
⁃ The first Corthay double-monk strap with a choice of different colors, with one version offered in suede :
⁃ Two patent leather Arca models with new patinas—oh-so-unique for those with unique taste :
⁃ A three-eyelet "saddle shoe" with an exotic leather overlay :
⁃ Three different versions of the Brighton loafer – with or without tassels :
My personal favorites from the new collection are the two models below : The single-buckle Arca in a sublime deep turquoise patina, and a Wilfrid model with a striking ostrich insert :
Corthay continues to bring audacity to its designs while crafting (in France) high quality shoes with distinct personality.