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Made to order boots from Gaziano&Girling


October 18, 2014 by Ville Raivio

After four months of waiting, a parcel arrived from Kettering, bearing fine boons from the house of Gaziano&Girling. These made to order boots are a co-operation project between Keikari and G&G, the Thorpe model with a few tweaks in the form of brass eyelets, storm welt, Ridgeway rubber soles, white welt stitching, all made on the lovely GG06 round toe last for casual wear. I have written the same several times already, but there’s no higher rush for a writer than quoting himself, so I must add that GG06 is underrated.





It is G&G’s finest last and I remain undecided if it’s also the finest British round toe last as Edward Green’s 202 is still in business. The Thorpe pair below also takes advantage of the new and interesting hatch grain calf leather from the A&A Crack x Horween co-operation, re-coloured in Kettering to vintage rioja shade. A very dark, nearly black burgundy, this colour is painfully difficult to photograph and my poor old Eos lost the battle. Suffice it to say that it’s an eggplant shade on steroids.





Each boot weighs some 850 grams thanks to the sturdy Ridgeway sole units, with an unmatched grip on wet surfaces. While the hatch is a man-made grain, it looks natural and all follicles are there for the Asperger-inclined eyes to see. I chose brass eyelets for nice patina and to avoid shoe lace scars on the upper leather. The white welt stitching harkens back to 1930s, when most men’s shoes, even the black ones, were still usually sewn in white to better show off meticulous hand-stitching.





I have sworn to myself that I will vomit if I ever again read about pig bristles used to sew pie-crust shoe aprons, so I shall not mention this method. These Norwegian boots do have a split toe and personality sewn and folded carefully, and one hidden seam for looks. While G&G has no RTW boot last so far, the round toe model fits the style well, even with chunky soles. It’s a close-sculpted one even in wide fit.





The boot is lined with first-grade calf in a nearly-matching shade to the uppers, and has a bellows tongue for wintry use. The counter and toe have strong leather stiffeners that won’t bend much at all. The former one extends nearly 10 cm towards the arch, though there is no additional arch support. Then there’s the smell. The boots smell lovely and, combined with the wooden shoe trees, the aroma is fragrange-worthy. I trust someone will become rich if the scent is reproduced, bottled and sold to the iGent throng that lives online.





Finally, the shoe trees are closer to sculptures than regular tools of the trade. They are easy to pull off and slide in, also smooth, curvy, soft, and smell like a wood should. A finger-sized hole is drilled in the middle to better evaporation. The large box also included a large flannel buffing cloth and shoe bags along with a polish jar in the wrong colour. Oh well.



Bespoke shoemaker Norman Vilalta


October 17, 2014 by Ville Raivio

Norman Vilalta. Bespoke from Häns on Vimeo.

For the Splendidly Dressed Man, Web Sites to Match


October 13, 2014 by Ville Raivio

Ginia Bellafante’s article on the then-new Styleforum and Askandyaboutclothes for The New York Times on September 28, 2004, might just be the first magazine post to spill the beans of iGents. The second millennium of our epoch brought no pandemoniums but the birth of men’s classic style forums, where much lore was shared, practical thoughts thrown about, information gathered, and much bickering born. The article is an artifact on how we lived.

A video history of the tuxedo or dinner jacket


October 10, 2014 by Ville Raivio

CBS shares a swell clip on the story of the dinner jacket (or tuxedo across the pond) with some choice interviews over at the Poole workshop, whose archives do not lie:

“In 1865, The Prince of Wales ordered a blue silk smoking jacket lined with silk, with silk collar and cuffs”, and gave birth to a new attitude in evening dress.



October 8, 2014 by Ville Raivio

Skolyx, Swedish for shoe luxury, is a Swedish shoe and apparel care webstore. The company was founded by E. Jansson in 2012 after he noticed that the country had very few domestic webstores for shoe care goods. Most men favoured European virtual shops for their range and prices. Skolyx began with a range of polishes, creams and brushes from the French powerhouse Saphir, but has branched out to offer shoes from Yanko as well as their own range of cedar hanger and shoe trees, belts and watch straps. Next in line are Skolyx handkerchiefs and ties made in Italy, to be added later this Autumn. The company has chosen thorough customer care and swell price-quality deals as their main edges over the rest.


When I ask why Keikari’s readers should try Skolyx, Mr Jansson tells me that “There is, of course, a couple of other companies in Europe providing shoe care accessories and are very good at that. What we feel is our biggest strength is that, since we are quite a small company, we can offer a really good customer service (please feel free to try it with an e-mail) and also offer a range of interesting products besides the shoe care products. We always encourage our customers to contact us if they feel that one can get a better deal somewhere else — just let us know and we will see what we can do to offer you an even better total solution for your shoe care, clothing care and accessory needs.”

A history of the Nantucket red cotton canvas


October 6, 2014 by Ville Raivio

The difference between fashion and style


October 5, 2014 by Ville Raivio

“There’s a difference between style and fashion. Fashion is that which comes and goes from one season to the next, it refuses to recognize the individual, and it’s by far the most costly way to dress. Style, on the other hand, is personally cultivated over years of introspection, is perhaps more concerned with quality and taste than the vagaries of a particular time, and speaks to those qualities which we consider to be of an individual nature: personality, idiosyncrasy, and freedom from coercion. To not consider the age in which one lives is to wear costume, but to consider only what others wear is to become a slave to conformity. The 18th Century English poet Alexander Pope said, ‘Be not the first on whom the new is tried/ Nor the last to lay the old aside.’ Good advice.”

~ G. Bruce Boyer

The Styleforum-Epaulet shell cordovan sneaker project


October 3, 2014 by Ville Raivio

I don’t own sneakers but I’ve liked the pairs I’ve seen from Buttero. The trouble with them is that they use no shell cordovan, which I’ve developed an addiction for. To right a wrong, SF has teamed up with Epaulet, who’ve teamed up with the Shinki Hikaku tannery in Japan, who’ve teamed up for finishing with the Comipel tannery in Italy. The deal is limited to 50 pairs per colour, and pre-orders are now open. I should receive my first smart sneaker pair next year.

Klassikko is coming


October 1, 2014 by Ville Raivio

It really is official now: my stylish men’s style book for living in classic style will be published in Finnish next year. My publishing agent will take part in the Frankfurt Book Fair this Autumn, and we hope to sell the translation and publishing rights internationally. I have translated many of my columns, essays and pieces for Keikari’s international version already: if the kind reader likes the content, I hope he will enjoy the potentially up-coming English book as well. The beautiful life, after all, is the only one worth living.

Custom leather goods from GION


September 28, 2014 by Ville Raivio

GION is an artisanal Hungarian leather goods maker founded by Peter Marton in 1979. I discovered the company while searching for a fully customised iPhone case, and Vass shoes’ very own Rezső Kuti advised me to contact G. for bespoke leather goods. As the savvy reader surely knows, Hungary has been able to retain many artisanal companies and schools despite the past Soviet gloom and its aftermath. This Paprika country also offers these goods for very good prices thanks to the Forint and local wage levels, even for custom deals. If my eyes tell no lies, GION also makes the bags launched as the latest range from Vass. I initially looked at shell cordovan iPhone cases from several makers to satiate my unhealthy cordovan addiction, but most of them are American and all of them have ugly models. Then came GION.
My bespoken case is a modified Tough model from the company’s current collection, made from Horween’s #8 shell cordovan with dark purple stitching and suede lining in the same shade, my favourite and Keikari’s chosen colour. As the leather is not part of GION’s stock hides, this project took about a month from payment to courier delivery, and cost 85 euros. The end result is, well, tough as the name implies, and nicely thick. The stitching is somewhat wonky on one side, straight elsewhere, and the case was a bit tight first. After several rounds of the old in-out, my droogs, the piece has loosened and all slides smoothly. The sides won’t bend at all, the middle part does. A nice surprise came in the form of two holes left at the bottom so that bleeps and clings from the iPhone are heard nice and clear. The cordovan horse rump is smooth, tough, has a lovely colour, and smells like a horse’s ass should. I am happy with and rest my case.

Copyright © 2013 Ville Raivio

Only a beautiful life is worth living.

"If John Bull turns around to look at you, you are not well dressed; but either too stiff, too tight, or too fashionable".
~ Beau Brummell