Long celebrated for its unparalleled artistry and meticulous crafting processes, John Lobb boasts more than 150 years of history, with an archive to match. It remains a pre-eminent maker of high-quality footwear for both men and women.
John Lobb’s journey began in 1851 on the farm where his father worked in southwest England. Lobb, then an ambitious 22-year-old apprentice, walked from the Cornish coast to London, shod in a pair of his own handmade boots and sustained by a strong sense of adventure. He worked his passage to Australia as a member of a ship’s crew. Once established in Sydney, he acquired a reputation for making hollow-heeled boots for gold miners, much used for concealing contraband. Returning to London in 1863, Lobb was appointed boot- maker to the Prince of Wales and opened his first shop on Regent Street in 1866.
Its deeply ingrained British traditions are preserved and reinvigorated, calling into question the values of fast fashion and disposable footwear.
As the firm’s reputation as a maker of the finest handmade shoes grew and its clientele expanded, it caught the eye of Europe’s luxury fashion houses. Most notably, in the 1970s the firm began a long-standing relationship with Hermès. In 1976, following a slew of pop-up appearances in its rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré store, the luxury Maison acquired John Lobb. In 2014 the house appointed its first Artistic Director, Paula Gerbase. She was brought in to evolve the brand’s creative footprint by combining John Lobb’s sense of adventure and the firm’s extensive archive with a sense of unwavering modernity. As part of her Autumn/Winter 2017 collection, Gerbase launched her first designs for women. ‘Women have been loyal customers of John Lobb since the very foundation of the house,’ she said. ‘Historically they bought men’s ready-to-wear shoes but as demand continued to increase it felt like the right moment to introduce a dedicated collection just for them.’
Continuing to forge a design-led future for John Lobb, Gerbase gives the house’s traditional construction techniques a new lease of life. In 2019, John Lobb will unveil the latest instalment of its yearly Saint Crepin – commemorating a rich history in bootmaking. The most recent rendition, Holt, champions the house’s esteemed craftsmanship with a new, specially created last which has been developed in collaboration with the made-to-measure Atelier in Paris in an original John Lobb style.
John Lobb boasts more than 150 years of history, with an archive to match.
Her designs also pay tribute to the brand’s origins, in that each collection takes inspiration from John Lobb’s epic walk from Cornwall to London nearly 170 years ago. For example, the Spring/Summer 2019 collection has hints of the granite tors and grassy cliff tops surrounding Minions, Cornwall’s highest village, in the earthy tones and textures of a palette of loden green, burnt umber, tobacco and indigo. In this way, the brand’s deeply ingrained British traditions are preserved and continually reinvigorated, calling into question the values of fast fashion and disposable footwear.
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