A few weeks ago, I styled a still life shoot with stunning masterpieces from the watch and jewellery world. It was for the ‘Heirlooms’ special issue of Country Life, the concept behind the shoot being that pieces we invest in now should be considered not just for ourselves, but for the next generation and beyond.
Of course, to buy anything expensive you must love such an investment whole-heartedly, and I loathe the thought of beautiful jewellery growing dusty, lonely and unworn at the bottom of a box, or confined to a dark corner of a safe. Each piece on the shoot was so exquisitely crafted, much of it vintage in fact, and still looking as glorious as the day it left the workshop – possibly even better. These sentiments are expressed perfectly by one of my favourite watchmakers: ‘You never actually own a Patek Philippe, you merely look after it for the next generation’, and without sounding too worthy, I am striving to be more conscious of what I buy and where from – buying less but buying better, so that it lasts.
It goes without saying that Crockett & Jones craft stylish yet classic women’s shoes, not for the fast-fashion fiend (although saying that, their loafers and brogues actually work perfectly with the current masculine tailoring trend, as well as virtually every summer dress you might have, plus any jeans on the market). Each pair of C&J shoes is constructed with the very finest materials, by skilled craftsmen who take time and pride in their work. Each pair takes eight weeks in the making – exactly the same care and consideration for comfort and quality as when the company began in 1879. That, in my humble view, is the essence of sustainable luxury.
Of course, to buy anything expensive you must love such an investment whole-heartedly
I’m a new recruit to the ‘make do and mend’ camp, a trait I get from my mother, and her mother before her – wartime ethics, of course. I think we should all be channelling a little more of this when it comes to what we buy – whether that’s food, furniture or, in this case, footwear. There are occasions when all-out glamour is called for, and yes, C&J’s shoes certainly won’t be in your everyday wardrobe (I’m still day-dreaming of my bespoke ‘shoe-drobe’), but I now struggle to spend money on pairs that wouldn’t ‘go with most things’. If you look after your shoes, they will look after you, and should keep you standing tall for decades.
My mother often says, ‘Spend money on your shoes and your bed, because if you’re not in one, you’re in the other.’ I’m off to buy a new mattress topper, and my beautiful C&Js are still ready and waiting.