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#1 2008-07-25 07:30:56

Sator
Member
Posts: 283

Impressions of Vienna

My guidebook laments that Vienna lacks large department stores, yet that precisely turns out to the greatest strength of Vienna for those of us in search of old world luxury, repeatedly disappointed by the reiteration of the same generic brands in every large city. Vienna excels in old world luxuries from family owned boutiques, something yet to be killed off by predatory department stores.

First stop for me was Knize, situated right in the middle of Graben:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Graben-1.jpg

It turns out the façade of the store was designed by none other than Adolf Loos, the famous Viennese turn of the century architect – pictured here reassuringly wearing his silk faced frock coat with fancy covered buttons; stiff, detachable stand up collar, with pinned dress cravat; lapelless DB waistcoat; and Cashmere striped morning trousers:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6a/Adolfloos.2.jpg

The store is definitely worth visiting as much for its architectural value as for the clothes.

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Knize.jpg

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Knize1.jpg

I ended up buying a couple of ties there, which turned out to be both reasonable value and quite nice. My visit was too short to permit me to even consider bespoke so I did not enquire about costs. Curiously, I noted that the assistants always pronounce the store name as “K’nee-djar” rather than “K’nee-tzi” as one would normally expect in pronouncing German. The one disappointment would be that their third generation bespoke operation seemed to be rather overshadowed by the unfortunate over prominence of Kiton, Brioni and Cucinelli RTW everywhere. They even had a range of Knize range RTW shoes. Although not unattractive, they were nothing exceptional and were presumably Hungarian made, although almost certainly not by Vass.

Of course, the store window display was worth commenting on:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Knize_display.jpg

Morning dress of course.

There was a little poster in the window display too:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Knize_window.jpg

Indeed, morning dress seemed to pop up everywhere around the city.

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Vienna_morningdress.jpg

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Vienna_wedding.jpg

Not all flawlessly executed, I know, but even at its worst, still far better than the wretched “tux” in broad daylight. To see those, you had to go into the coffee houses, where the waiters wore some form of dinner jacket as a form of livery. So to wear one at a wedding, one would doubtless invite calls of “Herr Ober! – fetch me a glass of wine”

The Viennese Kaffeehäuser are indeed rightly famous, and it is definitely worthwhile doing a round of the best known places, to try out their meals, admire their architecture – as well as to drink coffee. My favourite turned out to be Sigmund Freud’s old haunt, Cafe Landtmann right across the road from the front of the university.

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/CafeLandtmann.jpg

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/CafeLandtmannInterior.jpg

Freud’s old house is a couple of tram stops away, and, as I imagine he would have held tenure at the university, the coffee house would have provided a convenient meeting point for academics. Between lectures and seeing clients, I could imagine him sitting there discoursing with those initiated into his intellectual circle. The art deco styling inside is beautifully preserved, and a pleasure to behold. I thought their Einspänner to perhaps be the finest in town.

Here is Freud’s old hat, which probably did a bit of hanging at Café Landtmann as well:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Freud_hat.jpg

I wonder who made it, for anyone who knows hats will see that is has been very nicely blocked with a beautiful felt which has weathered the decades very well.

Coffee. Now, there’s a topic all of its own. I couldn’t help but cringe at the way the American and Australian tourists always order a “cappuccino”. Little do they know that, although offered by coffee houses (for the tourists no doubt), more authentically Viennese are the Melange, the Einspänner or Slagobers. Turkish styled coffe is also traditionally served. The coffee culture is quite distinct in character from the Italian one.

Also worthy of mention is the fact that the food at the best coffee houses is also excellent. My favourite lunchtime dish by the end turned out to be a good Tafelspitz – silver side of beef, cooked with vegetables and served with applesauce, garnished with chopped radish, along with a second spinach sauce along with some cream. The Emperor Franz Joseph was said to have eaten it every day for lunch. Again, Café Landtmann did the best Tafelspitz in town bar none. Having eaten out in Italy and Paris, I can say the food in Vienna is some of the finest in Europe. Also do check out the ham sandwiches at the Black Camel – Zum Schwarzen Kameel.

However, perhaps what Vienna is best known for in the sartorial world is its bespoke shoemakers. First and foremost amongst these is Rudolph Scheer und Söhne. Founded in 1816, and now run by the seventh generation, it must surely be the oldest bespoke bootmaking business in existence. It is extraordinary to think that John Lobb wasn’t even born when the store was founded. Lobb was born only in 1828, and founded his store in St James only much later in the 19th century after a stint in Sydney, Australia during the Gold Rush. Even today Scheer proudly carries its Royal Warrant held during the days of the Austrian monarchy. “K.u.K” – Kaiserlich und Königlich (Royal and Imperial) – are the letters adorning the front of the store, along with the coat of arms of the Habsburg monarchy with its characteristic double headed eagle:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Scheer.jpg

The same coat of arms adorns the top of the Hofburg palace:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Palace_Eagle.jpg

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Palace_coatofarms.jpg

And here it is once again, on the top left hand corner of this famous portrait of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor painted by Albrecht Dürer:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Maximilian_I_Drer.jpg

On entering the Scheer store, the inside resembles the John Lobb store in St James in many ways. Old wooden cabinets are full of old button boots and Wellingtons. They even still have the lasts for Emperor Franz Joseph and Kaiser Wilhelm.

I enquired about putting in an order but they themselves were hardly encouraging: “we don’t need any more customers”. It takes at least a year before the trial shoes are ready and at least another year after that before the final shoes are finished. Overall it could take about two to three years before they are complete. The minimum total cost for the first pair – 2200 Euros. Was I tempted? Hell yes, and I thought about it quite a while but in the end didn’t. One day I will.

Anyway, here are a couple of examples of their work from the window display:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Scheer_boots.jpg

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Scheer_shoes1.jpg

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Scheer_shoes.jpg

And something from a catalogue:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Scheer_catalogue.jpg

For more pictures see:

http://scheer.at/

I wish in retrospect that I had asked to inspect a sample of their work, so I could carefully see what their workmanship is really like first hand.

Fortunately, other shoemakers in town charge more reasonable prices. The Viennese have a more formal system of apprenticeship than the English or Germans do, and it takes some time to acquire the formal qualification required to call oneself a shoemaker. As a consequence there seems to a wonderful proliferation of shoemakers all over the city, although I also understand some of these just take orders for some Hungarian workshop after being trained to take measurements. Still, Vienna seems a veritable El Dorado of bespoke shoemaking.

I particularly enjoyed the style of shoes by Balint with their consistently elegant lasts. I walked in unannounced to find Herr Balint busy with his lastmaking. He was at his machine with a mask on and asked his wife to show me around. Prices start here at 1990 Euros. They charge a little more for welted shoes than they do for wood pegged (holzgenagelt) shoes, and a bit more still for Goyserer (zwiegenäht) welted shoes. Everywhere it seemed, most makers appear to somewhat prefer the holzgenagelt technique.

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Balint_prices.jpg

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Balint1.jpg

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Balint.jpg

Curiously, Balint does not believe in trial shoes. They don’t feel they are useful and will make a new pair up free of charge if the first pair fail to fit.

Even more reasonably priced was Materna at around 1300 Euros for holzgenagelt shoes. However, all subsequent shoes also cost just as much and a last making fee is not deducted. Herr Materna explained that he was a third generation shoemaker. He too felt that trial shoes were a waste of time. You can make them, he said, but the “shoes still don’t fit anyway”, as the fit of trial shoe and the real thing turn out to be quite different. He is also happy to measure the customer up and then ship the finished shoes out, although he did prefer that for the first pair that the customer picked them up in person, so any adjustments could be made in person. Curiously, he says he has quite a few customers in Australia already. The house style here is much more naturally round and less elongated than from other shoemakers. More 202 last than 82 or 888, if that makes sense:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Materna.jpg

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Materna_loafer.jpg

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Materna_shoes.jpg

Prominent amongst the display shoes in store are stingray shoes: “it’s so tough, you could play football in those”, Herr Materna explained. Not coincidentally perhaps, I notice this pair in the window display outside:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/MaternaStingray.jpg

In my excitement however, I forgot to take any photos whatsoever at Maftei where I did place my order. Hopefully, it will be ready in a few weeks time. Frau Maftei-Barbu measured me up taking detailed measurements of each foot, and at the trial fitting a little over a week later all seemed well. At under a thousand Euros a pair, this will probably not be my last order either. Initially, I gravitated out of habit towards welted shoes but was steered gently towards holzgenagelt shoes, which are much less time consuming to make. Also at Maftei, as well as at other shoemakers, it was explained that a bevelled waist was regarded as something traditionally not done on a man’s shoe. They would all show me examples of women’s bespoke shoes made with a bevelled waist but to do that on a man’s shoe, they all agreed, was something universally regarded as being rather English.

Incidentally, for those interested in bespoke shoes for their partners, the holzgenagelt technique allows a thin sole to be closely trimmed to the edge of the shoe as with glued fashion shoes, while maintaining all the robustness of welted shoes. Here is one example from Materna:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Materna_damen.jpg

One place perhaps worth checking out for those interested, is this bespoke shirtmaker:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Venturini_shirts.jpg

This store also offers some fine leatherware, made in Vienna by Robert Horn:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Horn_Wien.jpg

Horn claims that he is unable to improve on the design of a briefcase carried by Metternich at the Congress of Vienna.

To end this little sartorial adventure, here are a few of Vienna’s favourite sons and adopted sons.

Firstly, Wolfgang Amadeus:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Mozart.jpg

A rarely seen portrait of the 13 year old Beethoven:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Beethoven.jpg

Johann Strauss:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Strauss.jpg

Note that his evening dress coat really does button up and probably lacks side bodies, as was typical around the mid-century. Also worthy of remark is the fact that mid century fashion journals mention that it is actually desirable for half an inch of the waistcoat to show beneath the cut away front of the dress coat. Evidently, the act of raising the arms to play the violin has caused a bit more than that to show.

Theodor Billroth:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Billroth.jpg

We take it for granted that surgeons wear theatre gowns, but it was a radical innovation introduced by Billroth.

Sigmund Freud:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Freud.jpg

The humorous parody of Schiller’s Ode to Joy will be apparent to German readers, hailing Freud as “thou Son of Analysium” (“Daughter of Elysium” are the words in Schiller’s Ode).

All in all, Vienna is a splendid place that I greatly look forward to visiting again in the near future.

Last edited by Sator (2008-07-25 08:53:06)

 

#2 2008-07-25 10:05:37

Marc Grayson
Member
Posts: 8860

Re: Impressions of Vienna

Thanks for sharing!  One of the first things Truman Capote purchased when he received his first sizeable advance was a suit from Knize's NY branch and he marveled at how the sleeves had working buttons.


"‘The sense of being perfectly well dressed gives a feeling of inner tranquility which even religion is powerless to bestow." Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Looking good and dressing well is a necessity. Having a purpose in life is not."  Oscar Wilde

 

#3 2008-07-25 11:22:39

Film Noir Buff
Dandy Nightmare
From: Devil's Island
Posts: 9077

Re: Impressions of Vienna

I like Ode to joy.

Interesting about the shoes. I am personally tempted to get a pair of black lace up sting ray myself for casual.


Le costume fait sur mesure en tissue Fresco est le préféré des ploucs!
Facebook: FNB Dandy  Twitter: @DevilsIslandFNB Instagram: fnbdandy

 

#4 2008-07-25 11:28:55

formby
Member
From: Wiseacre
Posts: 8359

Re: Impressions of Vienna

Sator, thank you for taking the time to post the pics from your visit to Vienna, especially the ones of the Knize emporium

'...It turns out the façade of the store was designed by none other than Adolf Loos, the famous Viennese turn of the century architect – pictured here reassuringly wearing his silk faced frock coat with fancy covered buttons; stiff, detachable stand up collar, with pinned dress cravat; lapelless DB waistcoat; and Cashmere striped morning trousers:...'

I was aware that Loos was the architect responsible for the design of the Knize building, however, I've never had the time to travel to Vienna so it's the first time I've seen it.

By the way Loos had a dodgy personal life which we wont go into here..

edit: for grammar

Last edited by formby (2008-07-25 13:34:23)


"Dressing, like painting, should have a residual stability, plus punctuation and surprise." - Richard Merkin

Souvent me Souvient

 

#5 2008-07-25 13:30:20

eg
Member
From: Burlington, ON
Posts: 1498

Re: Impressions of Vienna

A friend highly recommends Vienna. From your photo-essay I can see why -- thanks for sharing, Sator.


"Experience teaches only the teachable." A. Huxley

Oh, and if Latin is your thing, Sursum Corda

 

#6 2008-07-25 17:07:17

Incroyable
Member
Posts: 2310

Re: Impressions of Vienna

formby wrote:

Sator, thank you for taking the time to post the pics from your visit to Vienna, especially the ones of the Knize emporium

'...It turns out the façade of the store was designed by none other than Adolf Loos, the famous Viennese turn of the century architect – pictured here reassuringly wearing his silk faced frock coat with fancy covered buttons; stiff, detachable stand up collar, with pinned dress cravat; lapelless DB waistcoat; and Cashmere striped morning trousers:...'

I was aware that Loos was the architect responsible for the design of the Knize building, however, I've never had the time to travel to Vienna so it's the first time I've seen it.

By the way Loos had a dodgy personal life which we wont go into here..

edit: for grammar

Loos was a true style dictator. One has the impression he was rather difficult to deal with.


Jukebox Babe

 

#7 2008-07-25 18:47:51

tteplitzmd
Member
Posts: 345

Re: Impressions of Vienna

Sator,

Beautiful photos and travelogue. Thanks.

 

#8 2008-07-26 04:12:18

formby
Member
From: Wiseacre
Posts: 8359

Re: Impressions of Vienna

Incroyable wrote:

formby wrote:

Sator, thank you for taking the time to post the pics from your visit to Vienna, especially the ones of the Knize emporium

'...It turns out the façade of the store was designed by none other than Adolf Loos, the famous Viennese turn of the century architect – pictured here reassuringly wearing his silk faced frock coat with fancy covered buttons; stiff, detachable stand up collar, with pinned dress cravat; lapelless DB waistcoat; and Cashmere striped morning trousers:...'

I was aware that Loos was the architect responsible for the design of the Knize building, however, I've never had the time to travel to Vienna so it's the first time I've seen it.

By the way Loos had a dodgy personal life which we wont go into here..

edit: for grammar

Loos was a true style dictator. One has the impression he was rather difficult to deal with.

Loos could demonstrate extraordinary insight for his time. For example this snippied from the wikipedia entry about his book Ornament und Verbrechen:

'..In the essay, Loos's "passion for smooth and precious surfaces"[1] informs his expressed philosophy that ornamentation can have the effect of causing objects to go out of style and thus become obsolete. It struck him that it was a crime to waste the effort needed to add ornamentation, when the ornamentation would cause the object to soon go out of style...' (1)

I think this relates too more than just architecture, consider are recent threads about:  'what is costume'

Loos could also demonstrate extreme cultural ignorance and snobbery as well. Snipped from the same article.

'...Loos introduced a sense of the "immorality" of ornament, describing it as "degenerate", its suppression as necessary for regulating modern society. He took as one of his examples the tattooing of the "Papuan" and the intense surface decorations of the objects about him—Loos considered the Papuan not to have evolved to the moral and civilized circumstances of modern man, who, should he tattoo himself, would either be considered a criminal or a degenerate...' (2)

In many ways Loos was a man of his time. See (2) above and in others far ahead of his time. See (1) above.

Links.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Loos

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ornament_and_Crime

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s?ie=UTF8&t … lla-search

Last edited by formby (2008-07-26 04:19:32)


"Dressing, like painting, should have a residual stability, plus punctuation and surprise." - Richard Merkin

Souvent me Souvient

 

#9 2008-07-26 07:41:24

Film Noir Buff
Dandy Nightmare
From: Devil's Island
Posts: 9077

Re: Impressions of Vienna

Sator, please make sure we get to see your shoes along the process.


Le costume fait sur mesure en tissue Fresco est le préféré des ploucs!
Facebook: FNB Dandy  Twitter: @DevilsIslandFNB Instagram: fnbdandy

 

#10 2008-07-26 09:21:29

suds-okeefe
Member
Posts: 366

Re: Impressions of Vienna

I was in Vienna in the late nineteen nineties where I appreciated that this city was resistant to being Absorbed by the "Sex in the City", Mickey-D's culture which seems to be engulfing most of the world.

Did not buy any clothes there though.

 

#11 2008-07-27 02:37:59

Incroyable
Member
Posts: 2310

Re: Impressions of Vienna

formby wrote:

Incroyable wrote:

formby wrote:

Sator, thank you for taking the time to post the pics from your visit to Vienna, especially the ones of the Knize emporium

'...It turns out the façade of the store was designed by none other than Adolf Loos, the famous Viennese turn of the century architect – pictured here reassuringly wearing his silk faced frock coat with fancy covered buttons; stiff, detachable stand up collar, with pinned dress cravat; lapelless DB waistcoat; and Cashmere striped morning trousers:...'

I was aware that Loos was the architect responsible for the design of the Knize building, however, I've never had the time to travel to Vienna so it's the first time I've seen it.

By the way Loos had a dodgy personal life which we wont go into here..

edit: for grammar

Loos was a true style dictator. One has the impression he was rather difficult to deal with.

Loos could demonstrate extraordinary insight for his time. For example this snippied from the wikipedia entry about his book Ornament und Verbrechen:

'..In the essay, Loos's "passion for smooth and precious surfaces"[1] informs his expressed philosophy that ornamentation can have the effect of causing objects to go out of style and thus become obsolete. It struck him that it was a crime to waste the effort needed to add ornamentation, when the ornamentation would cause the object to soon go out of style...' (1)

I think this relates too more than just architecture, consider are recent threads about:  'what is costume'

Loos could also demonstrate extreme cultural ignorance and snobbery as well. Snipped from the same article.

'...Loos introduced a sense of the "immorality" of ornament, describing it as "degenerate", its suppression as necessary for regulating modern society. He took as one of his examples the tattooing of the "Papuan" and the intense surface decorations of the objects about him—Loos considered the Papuan not to have evolved to the moral and civilized circumstances of modern man, who, should he tattoo himself, would either be considered a criminal or a degenerate...' (2)

In many ways Loos was a man of his time. See (2) above and in others far ahead of his time. See (1) above.

Links.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Loos

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ornament_and_Crime

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s?ie=UTF8&t … lla-search

Loos is a very interesting personality.

Imagine someone today writing something about ethnic decorative trends as being degenerate, or evidence of a lesser civilization.

However, I think there is a kind of academic point to his idea about decoration as being immoral. He seems to subscribe to a sort of Hegelian notion of a linear progress, marked by how aesthetics is utilized in society.

Look at periods like the so-called Enlightenment--sparse and minimal decoration was popular then, and there is a certain elegance about it all even today whereas contrast it with something like the Rococo, or more recently, Art Nouveau. Art Nouveau has an irretrievable datedness about it that can sometimes be very tacky. This is especially true when it's misappropriated by people today.

I would put Art Deco in that category as well.

Last edited by Incroyable (2008-07-27 02:41:17)


Jukebox Babe

 

#12 2010-06-15 03:40:42

zuckermandl
Member
Posts: 217

Re: Impressions of Vienna

My first dentist was Adolf Loos' nephew.
By the way, he almost certainly would not have appreciated the sort of sartorial finickyness displayed here- after all, his credo was 'function above all' (one cannot help but think he'd have loved Ivy!).

Secondly, Knize (correctly pronounced 'Kni-zhe') is but a mere shadow of its pre-war glory: all the stories you hear about the shop- well, they refer to the old Knize. The place is not in the hands of the original owners, and as long as the old employees still worked there one could, I suppose, imagine to own a piece of that legend. But these people have long since died off.

The problem is that the Austrians are almost as good as the English at creating 'instant traditions': a shop can open overnight and look as if it had been there for the past 100 years. The signs are sometimes obvious, sometimes less so, but they're always there. Also, the names of the places where 'one shops' have been passed down for generations, and newcomers often don't bother to crack the 'old blood' market and peddle their wares to easily impressed tourists instead.

 

#13 2010-06-15 04:28:00

Kingstonian
Member
From: sea to shining sea
Posts: 3205

Re: Impressions of Vienna

I note Knize has a shop in Bad Gastein. I do not remember seeing it, though I was more concerned with the skiing.

The only clothing I bought in Bad Gastein was underwear - as I forgot to pack a change. Bad Hofgastein had a rather expensive menswear shop where I purchased one pair.  Austrian underwear sizing is a complete mystery to me. Supplementary pairs were bought in the Bad Gastein supermarket Spar. I based the purchases on guesswork as to whether they would fit -stood there in ski clothes and boots stretching the garments and comparing one against another.

 

#14 2010-06-15 07:22:11

Sammy Ambrose
Member
Posts: 3552

Re: Impressions of Vienna

What polite and genteel chappies you all were back in the noughties. If perchance you are perusing this reminder of your grand tour, Sator, do you recall which measurements the bespoke shirtmaker took?


If you aren't seeing through all three eyes at once day and night you are up shit creek without a paddle. The Shooman

 

#15 2010-06-15 15:34:07

Grossgrain Silk
Member
From: The Inner Bar
Posts: 877

Re: Impressions of Vienna

Most unpleasant city I've ever been to. Utterly unrepentant about its past and full of people living off the advantages they obtained when Grandpa was doing something nasty to some Jew or Communist or homosexual (no gypsies in Vienna).

You can put lipstick on a pig but guess what...

 

#16 2010-06-15 15:39:25

Film Noir Buff
Dandy Nightmare
From: Devil's Island
Posts: 9077

Re: Impressions of Vienna

Grossgrain Silk wrote:

Most unpleasant city I've ever been to. Utterly unrepentant about its past and full of people living off the advantages they obtained when Grandpa was doing something nasty to some Jew or Communist or homosexual (no gypsies in Vienna).

You can put lipstick on a pig but guess what...

http://img268.imageshack.us/img268/5993/lipstickpig.jpg
"Excuse me, Sir?"


Le costume fait sur mesure en tissue Fresco est le préféré des ploucs!
Facebook: FNB Dandy  Twitter: @DevilsIslandFNB Instagram: fnbdandy

 

#17 2010-06-15 20:30:38

The_Shooman
A pretty face
From: AUSTRALIA
Posts: 12930

Re: Impressions of Vienna

Sator wrote:

However, perhaps what Vienna is best known for in the sartorial world is its bespoke shoemakers. First and foremost amongst these is Rudolph Scheer und Söhne. Founded in 1816, and now run by the seventh generation, it must surely be the oldest bespoke bootmaking business in existence. It is extraordinary to think that John Lobb wasn’t even born when the store was founded. Lobb was born only in 1828, and founded his store in St James only much later in the 19th century after a stint in Sydney, Australia during the Gold Rush. Even today Scheer proudly carries its Royal Warrant held during the days of the Austrian monarchy. “K.u.K” – Kaiserlich und Königlich (Royal and Imperial) – are the letters adorning the front of the store, along with the coat of arms of the Habsburg monarchy with its characteristic double headed eagle:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa28 … Scheer.jpg

The same coat of arms adorns the top of the Hofburg palace:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa28 … _Eagle.jpg

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa28 … ofarms.jpg

And here it is once again, on the top left hand corner of this famous portrait of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor painted by Albrecht Dürer:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa28 … I_Drer.jpg

On entering the Scheer store, the inside resembles the John Lobb store in St James in many ways. Old wooden cabinets are full of old button boots and Wellingtons. They even still have the lasts for Emperor Franz Joseph and Kaiser Wilhelm.

I enquired about putting in an order but they themselves were hardly encouraging: “we don’t need any more customers”. It takes at least a year before the trial shoes are ready and at least another year after that before the final shoes are finished. Overall it could take about two to three years before they are complete. The minimum total cost for the first pair – 2200 Euros. Was I tempted? Hell yes, and I thought about it quite a while but in the end didn’t. One day I will.

Anyway, here are a couple of examples of their work from the window display:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa28 … _boots.jpg

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa28 … shoes1.jpg

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa28 … _shoes.jpg

And something from a catalogue:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa28 … alogue.jpg

For more pictures see:

http://scheer.at/

I wish in retrospect that I had asked to inspect a sample of their work, so I could carefully see what their workmanship is really like first hand.

Fasinating stuff on Scheer. They do seem like the holy grail of shoos.

Sator wrote:

Even more reasonably priced was Materna at around 1300 Euros for holzgenagelt shoes. However, all subsequent shoes also cost just as much and a last making fee is not deducted.

l've read differently.

Sator wrote:

Herr Materna explained that he was a third generation shoemaker. He too felt that trial shoes were a waste of time. You can make them, he said, but the “shoes still don’t fit anyway”, as the fit of trial shoe and the real thing turn out to be quite different.

Trial shoes a waste of time, really?

Some shoemaking legends might not need to make trial shoes, but l feel most makers probably should for the first couple of orders.

Sator wrote:

Prominent amongst the display shoes in store are stingray shoes: “it’s so tough, you could play football in those”, Herr Materna explained. Not coincidentally perhaps, I notice this pair in the window display outside:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa28 … ingray.jpg

Yes, i've had stingray on my mind too. Saw some nice ray the other week, might make up a nice loafer or something. But...who's got the skill to work it in Oz?

Sator wrote:

In my excitement however, I forgot to take any photos whatsoever at Maftei where I did place my order. Hopefully, it will be ready in a few weeks time. Frau Maftei-Barbu measured me up taking detailed measurements of each foot, and at the trial fitting a little over a week later all seemed well. At under a thousand Euros a pair, this will probably not be my last order either. Initially, I gravitated out of habit towards welted shoes but was steered gently towards holzgenagelt shoes, which are much less time consuming to make. Also at Maftei, as well as at other shoemakers, it was explained that a bevelled waist was regarded as something traditionally not done on a man’s shoe. They would all show me examples of women’s bespoke shoes made with a bevelled waist but to do that on a man’s shoe, they all agreed, was something universally regarded as being rather English.

Incidentally, for those interested in bespoke shoes for their partners, the holzgenagelt technique allows a thin sole to be closely trimmed to the edge of the shoe as with glued fashion shoes, while maintaining all the robustness of welted shoes. Here is one example from Materna:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa28 … _damen.jpg

One place perhaps worth checking out for those interested, is this bespoke shirtmaker:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa28 … shirts.jpg

This store also offers some fine leatherware, made in Vienna by Robert Horn:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa28 … n_Wien.jpg

Horn claims that he is unable to improve on the design of a briefcase carried by Metternich at the Congress of Vienna.

To end this little sartorial adventure, here are a few of Vienna’s favourite sons and adopted sons.

Firstly, Wolfgang Amadeus:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa28 … Mozart.jpg

A rarely seen portrait of the 13 year old Beethoven:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa28 … thoven.jpg

Johann Strauss:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa28 … trauss.jpg

Note that his evening dress coat really does button up and probably lacks side bodies, as was typical around the mid-century. Also worthy of remark is the fact that mid century fashion journals mention that it is actually desirable for half an inch of the waistcoat to show beneath the cut away front of the dress coat. Evidently, the act of raising the arms to play the violin has caused a bit more than that to show.

Theodor Billroth:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa28 … llroth.jpg

We take it for granted that surgeons wear theatre gowns, but it was a radical innovation introduced by Billroth.

Sigmund Freud:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa28 … /Freud.jpg

The humorous parody of Schiller’s Ode to Joy will be apparent to German readers, hailing Freud as “thou Son of Analysium” (“Daughter of Elysium” are the words in Schiller’s Ode).

All in all, Vienna is a splendid place that I greatly look forward to visiting again in the near future.

How many bespokes do you have now Sator?


Buff's Bastards......exposing message board inanity and keeping false GODS accountable since 2006!

Cooked food should be made illegal - Dr Jubb (Jubsy)

 

#18 2010-06-26 20:01:02

Marc Grayson
Member
Posts: 8860

Re: Impressions of Vienna

I really enjoyed that.  Thanks for sharing.


"‘The sense of being perfectly well dressed gives a feeling of inner tranquility which even religion is powerless to bestow." Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Looking good and dressing well is a necessity. Having a purpose in life is not."  Oscar Wilde

 

#19 2010-06-26 20:32:02

ckav
Member
Posts: 315

Re: Impressions of Vienna

Chatsworth would have us boycott Israel and Grosgrain detests Vienna.
I was just asked to help deliver a vintage Rolls Royce up to Monterey- and being paid for the pleasure and a train trip back down. A young city, compared to Vienna or Jeruselum, but with it's own pleasures and gentilities. As an archaeologist I know where the mass grave of indians from the mission uprising lies, but I won't mention it to any locals.
Now, to pack and find my Jimmy Clark driving gloves. See you all in a few.

 

#20 2010-06-27 10:31:30

tteplitzmd
Member
Posts: 345

Re: Impressions of Vienna

Grossgrain Silk wrote:

Most unpleasant city I've ever been to. Utterly unrepentant about its past and full of people living off the advantages they obtained when Grandpa was doing something nasty to some Jew or Communist or homosexual (no gypsies in Vienna).

You can put lipstick on a pig but guess what...

That was my impression of Vienna as well when visiting a few years ago.

 

#21 2010-06-27 10:59:02

Cruz Diez
Member
Posts: 1950

Re: Impressions of Vienna

I find Budapest far more interesting... I think that only the +80, not young at heart crowd would find Vienna enjoyable.


"Luxury is a necessity that begins where necessity ends" Coco Chanel
"A man cannot be born a tailor, but he can be born rich. The patrimony can be inherited, but not the art." Giancarlo Maresca

 

#22 2010-06-27 11:14:16

zuckermandl
Member
Posts: 217

Re: Impressions of Vienna

I've always been a crusty octogenarian at heart, even as a teenager, so that explains it.
Oh, and I was born and raised there.

It's really interesting how some people on here think they can judge a place - for better or worse - after having been there for a hasty 'business' trip or the like. 'If today is Tuesday, then this must be Vienna', eh? But I've come across this attitude before, among a certain type of person.

 

#23 2010-06-27 11:22:39

Grossgrain Silk
Member
From: The Inner Bar
Posts: 877

Re: Impressions of Vienna

zuckermandl wrote:

I've always been a crusty octogenarian at heart, even as a teenager, so that explains it.
Oh, and I was born and raised there.

It's really interesting how some people on here think they can judge a place - for better or worse - after having been there for a hasty 'business' trip or the like. 'If today is Tuesday, then this must be Vienna', eh? But I've come across this attitude before, among a certain type of person.

Not me though. I took my Viennese born Aunt back to her home city every year for 9 years running. I began aged 18 and carried on until I was 27. We stayed in hotels, guest houses, once with part of the family that had survived and stayed and once with a diplomatic family. We met many natives there. She was, despite everything that had happened (by which I mean the elimination of her family and the confiscation of the not inconsiderable fortune they had made by working hard) very attached to the place. I have been back 5 times since then, none for business. So, if you took me to be 'a certain kind of person' I am afraid I am not. I am, however, 'a certain type of other type of person'. That might have something to do with my sensitivities I acknowledge.

Last edited by Grossgrain Silk (2010-06-27 11:24:50)

 

#24 2010-06-27 11:27:23

Cruz Diez
Member
Posts: 1950

Re: Impressions of Vienna

zuckermandl wrote:

I've always been a crusty octogenarian at heart, even as a teenager, so that explains it.
Oh, and I was born and raised there.

It's really interesting how some people on here think they can judge a place - for better or worse - after having been there for a hasty 'business' trip or the like. 'If today is Tuesday, then this must be Vienna', eh? But I've come across this attitude before, among a certain type of person.

Deswegen.... smile


"Luxury is a necessity that begins where necessity ends" Coco Chanel
"A man cannot be born a tailor, but he can be born rich. The patrimony can be inherited, but not the art." Giancarlo Maresca

 

#25 2010-06-27 14:03:41

formby
Member
From: Wiseacre
Posts: 8359

Re: Impressions of Vienna

Cruz Diez wrote:

I find Budapest far more interesting... I think that only the +80, not young at heart crowd would find Vienna enjoyable.

Budapest is lovely. Have you been to Prague?


"Dressing, like painting, should have a residual stability, plus punctuation and surprise." - Richard Merkin

Souvent me Souvient

 

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