Have you met… Chris Modoo, co-founder of Kit Blake?
Friend of the Flaneur, Chris Modoo, is a legend in the independent menswear arena. Having been a creative director at Savile Row houses and moved on to found his own ventures, Chris remains an important voice in our market. Being a Friend of the Flaneur and long-standing client, he was kind enough to take time out and write a few words on what ‘good shoes’ mean to him…
When I was a young salesman selling shirts and ties in Selfridges, I was fascinated by shirt and tie combinations. I was not confident in mixing patterns and would always look for inspiration from men in the street. When I saw a colour or pattern mix that I was not sure about, I would instinctively look at their shoes. If they were wearing a good pair of shoes and by “good” I mean well-made and cared for, I would perceive the combination as stylish.
And whilst I am now a more confident dresser and pride myself on my pattern and colour combinations, I still believe shoes are the most important element of any outfit yet still the area most men get wrong.
Good shoes are expensive and, sadly, the High Street no longer offers good entry-level options. But if you shop wisely and stick to classic and dark shades, you will get years of wear. I have a pair of Edward Green chestnut brown brogues that I purchased in 1992 (from the factory shop) and still wear. Of course, they have seen a lot of polish to protect and enhance them. And this is the key.
Wearing well-polished shoes is the easiest way to up-grade your look. It is a relatively affordable indulgence to have a professional polish every now and again. A good professional press can do wonders for tailoring but cannot compare with what can be done to a shoe in the hands of an artisan. You can even change colours, it used to be a “thing” to occasionally mix a little black polish into your brown shoes to create an antiqued effect but all sorts of effects and finishes can be achieved.
Considering the price of a shoe polish compared to, say, the cost of a bespoke suit, I am surprised it is not more popular.
Nowadays, men rarely wear ties but I still look at shoes to judge taste.”