Norman Vilalta

A breath of fresh air

Norman Vilalta youthful derbies

20170120_231211Is there anything else to invent with regard to the design of men shoes? What can we add without it being too much? How would a classic design shoe look in 20 years from now? The margin of creativity is very small. Firstly because the first half of the XXth century crystallized the design of the modern men shoe as we know it today. Shapes became nearly perfect, so any small addition will, most of the time, only tire the eye. Lately, remarkable shoemakers like Tony Gaziano, for instance, recovered models and shapes from the past and re-stylized them. That’s how Deco line appeared for instance.
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Norman Vilalta, the Argentinean who has his studio in Barcelona, pushed the boundaries a little bit more. The shoes from the Savile Row Meets Rock ’n’ Roll collection are a milestone for the classic taste. They are the kind of shoe which you either like or you don’t. More than shoes, the shoes from this collection are artistic manifests. The voluminous sole makes them youthful and vanguards. When you are a guy who wears more Edward Green shoes and you look at them, you feel like saying: “What are these? Most certainly they are not for me!”. And yet…Slowly, slowly, the chunky soled shoes are starting to grow on you.20170120_230935
 For me the shoes have been quite a surprise. I studied the shoes from the photos on Leffot, but I wasn’t convinced. I saw enough brands with nice photos, but low quality shoes, to be fooled by them. Nevertheless, when I saw them “in flesh and bone” I was pleasantly surprised. The feeling is one of a well executed RTW shoe. There are no mistakes. The sole gives it personality and lifts the shoe on a pedestal, so that the eye immediately runs towards it. The pebble grain calfskin is perfectly patinated, one cannot observe the passing from one color to another. The first thing that came to my mind when I saw it was caviar. Through patina, the stamp of the pebble grain becomes very visible and it almost creates a HD  image. It’s like looking at a state of the art  HD TV.
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His style reminds me of Corthay, but it is more versatile and youthful. I think Norman found a niche of the market which will receive very well his shoes. What gladdens me even more though is that his shoes are the expression of an artistic concept, all the collections having a unitary red thread. Norman sells shoes, but shoes which he likes. And that can be noticed.
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In the end, if I managed to at least make you curious, I’m proposing three models that are easily harmonized with a more classic taste, so to say. The derby boots in the Savile Row Meets Rock ’n’ Roll Collection collection, where the chunky sole is visually diminished, the gladiator model  and, since summer is coming, Norman’s colored grain  loafers. They are simply superb. For me it is almost impossible not to pick one…20170120_231033 20170120_231045 20170120_231137