The Art of Patina
Those looking to refresh or subtly antique a shoe should hunt down the skills of the Jaunty Flaneur
Article by Rupert Watkins Photograph by Andy Barnham
We all know sometimes you need a change. Sometimes it can be dramatic, sometimes more subtle and understated. “A patina can be as much a restorative process – ‘a refresh’ – for a shoe, as a complete transformation” says the Jaunty Flaneur’s Parijat (PJ) Upadhyaya. Over the past few years, the internet has meant that people have become ever more aware of the personalisation a patina offers. “The French and Italians have a tradition of doing it,” comments the Flaneur himself Tom Beecroft, “firms such as Berluti have offered an in house service for many years.”
It is certainly a painstaking art. If more dramatic change is desired the layers of colour must be carefully reduced – constantly ensuring the leather does not dry out. Dyes must be carefully used to provide the foundation of a new colour. That said there are limits as PJ remarks, “with the best will in the world you cannot strip back a black pair of shoes to tan and start again.” It remains a fraught process at times, “when stripping back you’re constantly aware of trashing the leather but then when rebuilding the colour then one wrong brush stroke…..” he laughs.
Offering a patina allows the Jaunty Flaneur to tap into the ever increasing desire for personalisation, “people love the unique,” enthuses Tom. Certain looks though have always remained popular – antique brown adds depth and complexity to the shoe. Following the use of an alcohol based dye and mink oil renovator to re-nourish, the colour is layered using shoe creams before beewax polish developed in the 1920s is finally used to develop to mirror like lustre. The Jaunty Flaneur uses creams and polishes by the French brand Saphir.
Though the service has been hugely popular with men, Tom comments they have seen a sprinkling of female custom. From January 2017, the Jaunty Flaneur has been collaborating with Arthur Sleep slippers – whose customers can pick a bespoke patina. “rather than a simple pre order, in many ways this is a consultation with the client” says Tom. He sees the patina service as a stand alone part of the Jaunty Flaneur’s offering, “it helps position us though as an overall brand. We are a very good shoe care company and offer a comprehensive range of services.”
Tom and PJ will be showing off the full range of the Flaneur’s skills The Details of a Gentleman event at the London Marriott Hotel Park Lane on Wednesday April 5th. They will be showing off their patinas on a range of Vass shoes.