CRAFTMAN & ARTIST
Long before Corthay, Pierre developed an adventurous spirit. As a youngster, he was exposed to art and the basking sun of the South of France, near Montpellier. He inherited an appreciation of curves and purity of shapes from his great aunt Valentine Schlegel, a ceramist. An early awakening to craftsmanship which led him to join the very demanding ranks of the Compagnons du Devoir in 1979 and for which he embarked on a ‘Tour de France’, working with the best shoemakers in the country. Pierre also developed a desire for travel and was exposed to the avant-gardism of Japanese artistic culture. Love at first sight !
1990 - 1, rue Volney
In October 1990, he took up residence on 1, rue Volney. Following on from a talented shoemaker who had started his business in 1947 and was now retiring. At the age of 27, Pierre was launching his very own brand, crafting bespoke shoes ! A dream come true. Quite early on, these incredible shoes fell under the watchful eye of Suzy Menkes - head of the fashion and luxury pages of the New York Times - who devoted an article to the Maison's promising future. She referred to his shoes as ‘jewel shoes’. Pierre’s following started to blossom, with customers from around the world lining up rue Volney to be part of the action. By 2008, his ambition to create the finest and most beautiful men's shoes was recognised and duly rewarded when he received the distinction of "Master of Art" shoemaker for men from the French Minister of Culture, of which he is the sole holder to date.
I wanted to makes shoes even more desirable than my imagination...
THE SUMMIT AS AN AMBITION
In 2010, Pierre Corthay is joined by entrepreneur Xavier de Royere, a seasoned manager in the luxury goods industry, who takes over the management of the company. Building on the 20 years of existence of the company, the two men aim to establish Maison Corthay as a reference for excellence in mens shoes and leather products. Innovative, sleek, comfortable, timeless objects of desire. This was the beginning of a new era, one of countless successes, which would lead to the opening of the second ‘lung’ of the Maison in 2014: the Beaupréau-en-Mauges factory. There, a team of seventeen passionate craftspeople are working to make the world's most beautiful shoes - the finest shoes, second-to-none. Excellence. Initiatives are multiplying, notably the Corthay Excellence Run, which consists of a car rally which gathered exceptional classic cars from the 60s and 70s whilst celebrating excellence in craftsmanship. Colour and patina are invariably celebrated in creations, new materials are honoured (including the incredible soft camel leather) ... Maison Corthay creates highly-skilled jobs, and strives to make its know-how, overflowing creativity and innovation known!
At the same time, Corthay shoots its first advertising campaign with the help of rockstar - fashion photographer Bryan Adams. Headlining the campaign, the famous aesthete and owner of Hamiltons Gallery in London, Tim Jefferies, a long-time friend of the House. The star shot of the campaign (‘In his father’s footsteps’) sees a child handing Corthay shoes to his father who is about to leave for black-tie event … Now internationally recognised, the brand opens several stores in key luxury hotspots (London, Beijing SKP in China, The Landmark in Hong Kong, Galleria in South Korea, Isetan in Tokyo, etc.) but is also distributed in the United States by the very chic Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus and the very best specialty stores around the world...
For nearly 30 years, Corthay has been constantly renewing its offer in the light of the new lifestyles of its customers. Whether in a formal suit for a business meeting, a tuxedo for an award ceremony, or in a casual outfit for a weekend break, the Corthay man has a thousand and one lives. Style evolves, codes change, and needs are transformed. At home or at the office, men sometimes dress the same. Men want versatility, comfort and to look good at any time. In keeping with its ethos of being ‘innovative and of the time’ the Maison embraces this evolution, because being a 'contemporary bootmaker' means doing things well, while remaining anchored in one's timeFrom bespoke to ready-to-wear products, and over thirty years, Maison Corthay has shown that it masters the crafting of exceptional products, and its clientele is with no doubt aware of just how unique it is.