Tell us more about patina service and the guys who work with you.
The patinas first of all are all designed single handedly by me. For the very simple patinas, our factory follows my recipes, patterns and mixes, and then finishes the complete products. For a very complex patina, the client can sit with me in the boutique for a full consultation, or send me an email showing ideas that they want to put on the shoe itself.
With my graphic design team we have developed a Patina software that allows us to color the shoes before they are made to give the ideas up to the client. Most of our customers love this as they can get a really good idea of what the shoe will look like in 2D. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, I have clients that just say “Make whatever you like. I trust you!“.
Which other shoemakers do you like?
In this business I have come to admire and respect Japanese Shoe and patina artist Imai Hiroki, Italian Shoe maker and shoe artist Ivan Crivellaro, Patina Artist Landry Lacour, Gaziano & Girling and Ricardo Bestetti.
Where do you source the leathers&soles?
For all of our shoes we use leathers from some of the best tanneries around the world. We buy some of our crust leathers from Santa Croce Italy and from France (Annonay). Our suedes come from CF Stead, and a lot of our novelty leathers are coming from tanneries all over Italy. Our liners are using Italian Goat skins and our outsoles and heels are all 100% veg. tanned leathers imported from Italy.
What’s the most difficult part of your job?
The most difficult part of my job is designing and making what we can actually produce. I end up sampling 100 pairs of shoes and we end up using 20 or 30 styles. But in reality most of them were great. As our lines begin to grow and we start selling in more world class retailers across the globe, my plan is to offer three very distinct shoe ranges starting with the Classico range which would be entry basics, and then graduating to our Hand Made range which is most of our patina works and novelty leathers, and then our Limited Editions which are very special capsules we will sell in our boutiques and in specialty stores.
What is the most satisfying part of your job?
A repeatedly loyal customer and client referrals.
What shoe style do you prefer the most?
I love loafers and monk straps shoes. Loafers for that easy comfort and casual dressy feeling, and a monk strap for a more sophisticated lifestyle suit up, or with a great pair of denim jeans.
What are your favorite places to spend your evenings?
Since I live in Saigon, there is an array of places I love to go depending on my moods. I love water fronts, since I was brought up by the beach I have always clanged to costal or waterfront venues. There is a great place in Saigon called The Deck. It’s a lovely modern outdoor/indoor bar and bistro that sits right on the edge of the Saigon River.
Going there at about 5:30 in the evening is perfect as you can see the sun set into the delta river ways. With great cocktails, candlelight, the smell of the Saigon air mixed with lemon grass diffusers, this place really relaxes me and the company I am with. The food is excellent and I really enjoy coming to this place always. For an exotic yet western mix of Vietnam, this place is a great place to chill out and see the crowd.
What is your favorite word?
What is your least favorite word?
What turns you on ?
I get inspired by many things. Being that I live in South East Asia, I’m always inspired by the cultures, the colors and the history. Vietnam is a huge inspiration for me because it’s essentially Old Colonial France relocated in Vietnam, South East Asia. I love the architecture and tradition of Hanoi and the modern day Saigon Metropolis. There are times when, if I close my eyes and open them up quickly, I would not think I am sitting in Vietnam, but rather in some Parisian café in France. That part of Vietnam really excites me along with its ancient history. I also get inspired by the crafts that exist here from the South all the way to the North.
Since I am producing Hand made suits which I produce and footwear, all those trained by me, along with Italian and Japanese artisans and technicians, make it possible to work with such a skilled workforce (The Vietnamese). I see the skill, taste and understanding of couture is already in the DNA of Vietnamese culture as it existed here for over 150 years. The challenge is just extracting that beauty and refining it to luxury western standards. This is what I get excited about doing every day when I wake up. There is a new challenge of bettering our brand on a daily basis, whether it be inspirations, technology investments, and or recruiting skilled artisans to join our brand. Our entire team’s goal is becoming the first luxury brand to exit Vietnam with world wide distribution.
What turns you off?
A room full of jealous and negative people.
What is your favorite curse word?
Id rather not repeat it here!
What sound or noise do you love?
I love the sounds of a Harmon mute trumpet playing. It’s bright, unusual, sophisticated and interesting all in one. I’m a huge fan of Miles Davis. In fact, in my atelier you will often hear his music playing over the sound system.
What sound or noise do you hate?
My dentists drill. Really Annoying!
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Antonio, Do those come in my size?! You may enter!