It’s becoming a bit of a tradition this; my revealing Crockett & Jones’s new season collection twice a year. I’m rather spoilt, aren’t I?
This season’s unveiling is a little different. Alongside new additions to the Main Line and Hand Grade collections, C&J is also celebrating the success of its new ‘The Black Editions’ the first three of which were unveiled this time last year. Inspired by the precision of Japanese menswear, the initial three designs were each lasted in a different black leather, from Scotch Grain to cavalry calf, and were all set on Vibram Cleated rubber commando soles. Unsurprisingly, they were a hit.
So, this season, The Black Editions are back with a further three models sitting alongside the originals. The first is the Pembroke, a traditional country brogue that is lent a menacing edge in Black Scotch Grain. Then, there’s my personal favourite, the Henley III, a classic penny loafer on C&J’s svelte 375 last, which normally looks quite dressy. Thick commando soles and lack cavalry calf transform it into something altogether more ‘rock n roll’ – perfect, dare I say it, with dark denim and white socks (I promise you white socks are a thing).
Finally, C&J’s iconic Coniston boot is rendered in Black Rough-Out Suede for an uncompromisingly rugged look. These are really something special; to turn country boots into something that looks urban and contemporary is no small feat of design for a traditional shoemaker. And, while we’re talking boots, it’s also worth noting that the the Chelsea XI, the most popular of last year’s capsule collection, has also been reimagined in Dark Brown Scotch Grain with the same storm-welted cleated rubber soles from Vibram.
Now, onto the collection proper. There are plenty of highlights – too many to describe here – but a few of my favourite designs merit special mention. The first is the new Hand Grade Kempton III low-ankle demi-boot, available in Black Calf or Polo Brown Calf Suede. The latter are stunning; simple, elegant and yet distinctive. Equally distinctive is the Main Line Kensington III plain loafer with its minimalistic silhouette, and the imposing Ross work boot, which is finished in Chocolate Hurricane Hide leather with an Earth Green Suede collar. Set on the same rubber commando soles as The Black Editions, these boots are a thing to behold; imposing, hard-wearing and beautifully made.
While each of these designs is distinctive in its own way, the collection has plenty of clean-cut formal shoes to choose from too; see the new Pembroke brogues in four different colours of Horween Shell Cordovan, and the understated Connaught II, a timeless pair of Oxfords, now set on practical rubber City Soles. There’s also the Westgate II in Black Calf, Tan Burnished Calf and Dark Brown Calf Suede, three new pairs of shoes that are also set on City Soles – combining the classic looks of full-brogues with modern, practical soles.
You’ll have doubtless gathered by this point that you’re spoilt for choice this season. There’s more to see than I’ve described here, so you’d better take some time now to have a thorough browse. Whether you’re after something quirky or classic, Crockett & Jones’s Autumn/Winter ’19 collection is right on the money.