Thursday, November 17, 2005

Coffee with Gabor Halmos of Vass Shoes

Telling me that Vass shoes are exquisitely well made is like telling me that Natalie Portman went to Harvard because she is really smart. That’s great, and I’m sure that helps in some way, but I just can’t get past how beautiful they both are.
The great thing about meeting with Gabor Halmos to preview the Vass collection is that he doesn’t have an office in the city. Instead we have to meet at incredibly chic places like Pastis to discuss toe boxes, hidden welts, and the complicated matter of harvesting cordovan from a horse’s ass. Almost every waitress at Pastis came over to our table to advise us on which styles they thought would be good for me. Is it true that the way to a woman’s heart is through your feet?
All kidding aside, it is very interesting to listen to Gabor discuss the challenges of growing a luxury shoe business (on the level of Lobb or a Lattanzi) in the US. I was surprised Gabor said that the perception of a luxury product “Made in Hungary” was the biggest obstacles for some retailers. When you hold the shoe it is so easy to feel and see the quality. Unfortunately I’m shallow, so what makes the Vass shoes on par, if not surpass, Lobb and especially Berluti is the design.
Of course my favorite store, Bergdorf Goodman spotted the potential of Vass and secured exclusive rights for New York City. Vass can also be ordered through another favorite store of mine, Louis Boston
Luckily, as Gabor spreads the gospel of Vass to stores around the U.S., one of the best tools available to him is the incredible book written by Laszlo Vass called Handmade Shoes For Men. It reminds me of the Borrelli booklet on how their shirts are made. Each page of the Vass book makes you appreciate the craft of shoe making, but it also make you want the SHOES more.


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  1. Carlo

    November 23, 2005 at 2:54 am

    You will not meet a finer gentleman than Gabor nor find a nicer shoe. I have been fortunate enough to work with Gabor and purchase shoes from him. It is hard to say which experience has been more satisfying but I’ll have to go with counting Gabor as a friend. Someday, the shoes will lose their shine. If you are on the West Coast, Mr. Andrew Harris is similarly delightful and will absolutely crush anyone in a game of “Trivial Pursuit – Handmade Shoe Edition”

    Wonderful blog

  2. Anonymous

    December 29, 2005 at 4:37 pm

    This guy could be my twin brother….

    I happen to be a shoe-lover too!

  3. Valerie

    August 27, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    I was trying to find the shoe to purchase, now my desire is simply to find Garbor.

  4. Anonymous

    January 8, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    I am lucky enough to own four pairs of Vass shoes. My first pair I bought during my studies in the mid 90s and they still look great. Two pairs are classic Budapest type, one pair of Norwegian style and one pair "progressive", Italian with the Banana "Leisten" (shape).

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