A few weeks ago I attended the 2019 London Super Trunk Show. Here is a quick coverage and my thoughts on the event. This is by no means a comprehensive overview of the whole trunk show. For this, go to Shoegazing's site at <http://shoegazing.se/english/>.
I. World Championship in Shoemaking
The winning shoe by Daniel Wegan of Gaziano & Girling obviously became the talking point of the whole event. Unfortunately, not only for good reasons. Many thought that the shoe should be "wearable". Many simply think that the shoe looks ugly. Even Jesper has noted that the shoe might have scored higher if it had a normal width as some judges did not see the shoe as aesthetically pleasing.
The criteria for which makers earn points are (i) difficulty, (ii) execution and (iii) aesthetics. "Wearability" is not judged in the competition, the shoe only had to be a size 42EU in length. I fully understand the organiser's goal to showcase shoes as artistic pieces. But the organisers really need to think about where the competition is going.
Last year's winning shoe was already very bold with the very tight waist and narrow last. This year's winning shoe went even further. If this trend continues, I would not be surprised to see more avant-garde shoes entering and winning the competition.
I am not suggesting that the organisers should add a "wearability" criteria. However, there should be some limitation as to the shape that would still make the shoe look like, well, a shoe.
If there is no limitation as to shape whatsoever, there is nothing stopping shoemakers from entering shoes looking like the above art shoe by Noriyuki Misawa. I am not sure that this is the kind of competition attendees are looking forward to.
There is something extremely satisfying in seeing "normal" shoes that can still somehow showcase craftsmanship and look beautiful. There is something even more satisfying in thinking that you can buy and wear the shoe from the maker.
This is where Eiji Murata of Main-d’Or, who came in third overall, really shines. From a distance his shoe looks like a normal wingtip. And it is a normal wingtip. Everything is in good proportion and Murata-san did not have to resort to any extremes, other than in his attention to detail and finishing. Only upon closer examination can you see that the shoe is really special. Jesper even said that the shoe is "quite similar to his regular customer work." To think that you can walk around in a shoe that came third in the world championship in shoemaking is simply astonishing.
Another shoe that caught my attention was made by Anthony Delos of Berluti. As with most of the shoes in the competition, the finishing on his shoe is top notch. What differentiates his shoe from the rest, however, is the harmony of the details, which is this case is the use of tassels in numerous parts of the shoe. You can find real tassels on the laces and tassel designs on the medallion, heel counter, heel quarter and sole.
II. World Championship in Shoe Patina
Contestants were given essentially half a day to paint a plain shoe into works of art. The patina created by Stéphane Villette, who won the competition, really is a work of art. The three contestants seems to have adopted different approaches in painting the shoes. The left pair seems to have gone for a brushed-on paint look, the middle for a more natural patina look, and the right for depth and myriad of colour.
The patina is deep and rich, and you can see shades of green, brown, and yellow in the mix. The patina does look very artificial, but then again "naturalness" was not a criteria in the competition.
III. World Championship in Shoe Shine
The last competition is more straight forward. Judges look at the degree and quality of the shine. Contestants are given 20 minutes to shine a shoe. The competition was won by Yuta Sugimura of Y's Shoeshine.
If you've ever tried to do a mirror shine, you know how difficult it is, let alone in 20 minutes. I personally still take a few hours to achieve a mirror shine. So it is a real feat what the contestants were able to do in such as short amount of time.
The Super Trunk Show offered more than the three competitions above, which this post cannot get into in much detail. However, above all, the Super Trunk Show was a very good opportunity to meet other people sharing the same passion. Let me close this post by showing the amazing people I met during the Super Trunk Show.
Written by: Nikki Krisadtyo