Fashion: Corthay – St. Germain chic at its best


Fashion: We look at the work of a shoemaker inspired by gastronomy – Corthay.

A very special know-how passed on from one generation to the next by the Compagnons, a French medieval guild, is brought to life in the bespoke atelier at No.1 Rue Volney, Paris. The pursuit of perfection in boot making is like a never-ending quest, a constant challenge to reach excellence. Knowledge, savoir-faire and experimentation are at the heart of Maison Corthay. Playing with materials, techniques, colours and shapes.

Pierre Corthay has been fascinated by textures and shapes since his youth. His great aunt, Valentine Schlegel, a modernist ceramic sculptor with a love for curves, introduced him to a universe of contours and construction by teaching him the foundations of the art. Twenty years on, the desire for purity and noble shapes can be traced throughout Pierre Corthay’s creations. Hence, the Corthay shoe is renowned for its distinctive silhouette and sleek lines, sculpted aerodynamics in leather with a distinctive twist.

As strange as it might sound, when creating the Saint Germain last, Pierre Corthay was inspired by gastronomy. He thought that even if we all fall for a truly sophisticated experience in a fancy restaurant, sometimes our best experiences in gastronomy come from classics: an old recipe, top-notch ingredients, perfect execution all lead to a familiar yet fantastic moment. The Saint Germain last does not try to compete with the highly contemporary Sèvres, rather the opposite. It brings us back to the basics of shoemaking.

The lines are sharp but not aggressive, the toe is as round/square that isn’t too pointy, the fitting is generous. It’s the perfect everyday last for work or for leisure. Its name is for Saint Germain des Prés, one of Paris’s chicest neighbourhoods, home to Le Bon Marché and Le Café de Flore which used to be the playground of dandy figures such as Marcel Proust and Serge Gainsbourg. The new Corthay last pays tribute to all those gentlemen who helped make Paris the most elegant city in the world.