Corthay’s Dubai party
The social focus of my recent trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi was a very pleasant reception given by Maison Corthay, the French luxury footwear brand, or as its slogan states, the contemporary Parisian bootmaker.
Our host was Xavier de Royere, the president of the company, which was set up by master shoemaker Pierre Corthay in 1990. Xavier heads a group of new investors who have funded global expansion for Corthay from its main store at 1 rue Volnay in Paris’ 2nd arrondisement. Xavier is well known in the luxury sector in the UK as he used to run Louis Vuitton’s retail interests over here before taking up the role of CEO of Loewe, the Spanish luxury group. Beautiful footwear for men is now his passion.
The location for the party was The Pavilion, a striking art space in downtown Dubai. Appropriately enough, the Corthay styles were displayed as works of art.
Corthay’s shoes are made in a workshop just outside Paris, using exclusively the classic Goodyear welted construction. The company’s best-selling style is called Arca, which was the name of Pierre Corthay’s grandfather’s yacht on which he sailed as a child. These are the new camel leather versions.
Although you can order bespoke Corthay shoes, even its ready-to-wear styles – which start at about £940 in the UK – are almost always customised to suit a customer’s requirements. I really like the chic contrast piping, which is a Corthay trademark.
High-gloss finishes is another specialty of the company and, as usual at Corthay events, a member of staff was on hand to demonstrate the remarkable skills of colouring and polishing.
If your budget stretches to £6,000 and beyond, even exotic skins like crocodile can be given the Corthay treatment. Note how regular the size of the scales are.
Happily for a fan of suede like me, the company also does versions in a great looking matt finish.
Predictably enough, I found myself strangely attracted to this flamboyant version of the Arca.
Among my fellow scribblers on the trip were Nick Scott, editor of The Rake magazine, and a fine fellow who commissions me on a regular basis. A new friend for me was Vincenzo La Torre, deputy editor of Prestige magazine in Hong Kong, who greatly impressed me with his ability to speak Japanese fluently.
Vincente chatted away furiously to Yukihio Sugawara, editor-in-chief of Last, a Tokyo-based magazine devoted to men’s footwear. Yuki’s English is a lot better than my non-existent Japanese. For the party, I wore my seersucker jacket by French brand Hartford and lilac cotton trousers from Club Argentina, a small chain in Paris, but I waved the flag for British style with my shirt and pocket square from Penrose London. My shoes – purple suede slip-ons – are from Oliver Sweeney. My new glasses from Silhouette completed the look.
It is almost impossible to find anything old in Dubai, so it was good to see this handsome Rolls-Royce parked outside the gallery. It was a classy accessory for a classy event.
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