This is the fifth collection introduction I’ve written for Crockett & Jones. So, this season I’m going to dive straight in and say that if (like me) you’re a loafer lover, the SS20 collection is going to be right up your street.
It’s no great secret that loafers are among the most popular and most versatile Goodyear welted shoes available today. As corporate dress codes have relaxed, sartorialists have moved on from double-monk shoes and interest in luxe sneakers has come and gone in the blink of an eye, loafers have become the go-to footwear choice of stylish men. I’m a fully-paid up member of the loafer love club, and have five pairs in total, compared with only a couple of pairs of boots and lace-ups. There’s just nothing so easy to dress up or down.
Which leads us nicely into Crockett & Jones’s new season additions, which as you might have guessed, are all loafer based. There are 12 new models in total, each as chic as the other.
Let’s start with the show-stoppers of the bunch. C&J has released a new tassel loafer model, the Jersey, available in either Sage Green or French Navy Nubuck – the only men’s shoes currently available in this material. They are lasted on the 375 last, which features a round toe, increased toe depth and slimmed down back part. C&J make a number of loafers on this last, including the Lichfield II, which I own, so I can vouch for its form-fitting profile; snug around the heel where you want it, with plenty of room across the toes. With light topstitching around each apron this duo is contemporary and casual; at home with rolled-up chinos and T-shirts in warm weather. Finished with rubber City Soles, the Jersey is an elegant summer statement shoe.
This season’s take on the Richmond loafer is also a crowd-pleaser. Essentially, the Richmond is an unlined version of the Grantham model, styled with a raised and butted apron seam that lends it a timeless, mid-century look. It’s available in Snuff Suede and Tan Wax Calf (these pairs are a good option to tackle spring showers) finished with City Soles, but the standout of the trio is the Richmond in Tan Burnished Calf with a Stone Canvas apron. Relaxed, chic and that little bit retro, this is a great shoe to pair with wide-leg beige linen trousers or washed mid-blue jeans when the heat’s on.
Then, we come to my personal favourite: the Selby butterfly loafer. A traditional style named after the two intertwining straps that sit across the bridge of the shoe, the butterfly loafer is an Edwardian invention, but the Selby feels thoroughly modern. Again, it’s made on the 375 last, and if you follow the Selby’s clean lines around the toe box, you can see the extra width on these that makes them so comfortable to wear. Often, butterfly loafers can be a little too dressy; styled with broguing and punch-holes, but the simplicity of these is lovely. Try the Dark Brown Calf Suede with dark denim, and the Chestnut Burnished Calf with a lightweight blue blazer and grey fresco trousers.
Bringing this collection full-circle is another first for C&J; the Woven Calf Kensington loafer. It’s a clean-looking shoe, devoid of either penny straps or tassels, but its design is nonetheless impressive. The uppers are cut (as the name suggests) from woven leather, made up of tightly interlaced strips of the same A-grade calf used throughout their collection. The result is a loafer that can be dressed either up or down; at once dressy and casual.
It’s set on the same last as C&J's classic Main Collection loafer, the Sydney, with long rounded toes that combine with the woven leather to lend the Kensington sweeping, rakish lines. These too are set on easy-wearing City Soles, and in either Tan or Black Calf, they work surprisingly well with a crisp, lightweight suit. If woven leather isn’t your thing, the Kensington is also available in Dark Brown Calf Suede, for a lightweight loafer that’s as sleek as can be.
This is an interesting collection for Crockett & Jones; at once traditional and experimental; the company is continuing to play with the styling of its classics, and with new materials – like colourful Nubuck and distinctive woven leather – but these aren’t shoes that feel out of place in the wheelhouse of a Northampton heavyweight. Rather, they feel relevant, relaxed and just directional enough.