In general, shoemakers from Central and Eastern Europe have very good shoe prices. Even so, when I look at your shoes I somehow feel that they are undervalued. What is the price of your shoes and what is your future policy regarding prices?
The price of my shoes is calculated very carefully. We are at the limit that we can afford. We have to keep in mind the fact that we live in a country that is still developing. We want to make shoes from the best materials but we also want to cover a group of clients as large as possible. Now we sell our shoes for 450 Euros. This is the minimum price that allows us to continue this noble business.
The belts, which are also manually sewn, cost 125 Euros. Boots cost 500-550 Euros, depending on how complicated or long is the upper part. The prices of crocodile leather shoes vary between 700 Euros (crocodile combined with box) and 1200 Euros for shoes made entirely from this sort of leather.
Do you also have in plan the opening of a RTW line, or an online store?
I already have in my studio in Chisinau several dozens of shoes ready to be bought. They are classical models, in traditional colours. I also started an online collaboration with a shoe salesman in Kaliningrad (Russia). I received from him the first measurements and I’m on my way to send him a shoe sample, so that he can verify if the last was well fit, and then the proper order can be placed. I hope this will prove to be a good start and I begin to honor such orders too.
Where can we find you in Chisinau? Do you have plans for a new trunk show?
In Chisinau I invite you to visit my studio, which is found on 49 Alexei Mateevici street. It is one of the most beautiful streets of the town. On this street there is also the State University of Moldova, the entrance to the “Mills Valley” park, the US Embassy, the Savoy Hotel…I have a store with a street entrance and the studio is in the back side of it. I’d like to come to Bucharest again for another trunk show, and I’m sure I will come again, but next time I’ll let professionals to arrange the event.
What was the most exotic shoe you ever created?
The most exotic orders are shoes and boots from croc leather. This leather makes me incapable of taking my eyes from the shoes, for minutes. The effect is spectacular. You simply lose yourself among the cracks and scales. The orders coming from ladies are very interesting. They are not afraid to experiment and have a more developed sense of beauty. Recently I made a pair of calf leather and suede derby boots, both leathers in the same nuance but with some artistic elements.
The parts that serve to strengthening the boot were cut so that they have also a décor quality. I like a lot the combinations of colours with higher contrast. Too bad that not all the clients have the courage to wear such shoes. I don’t know why, but I think for me the loafers are the most exotic shoes. Maybe because of the elements of décor, shaped like fringes, or the decorative stitch on their tops. The buttoned boots are equally exotic models (nowadays). They are more difficult to put on, but they have a crushing effect on the public. The clients for whom I made such boots happen to call me in the middle of their party and share with me the effect produced by their boots in the society.
The last order?
The last order comes from Bucharest, from the trunk show. I’ll make a black wholecut, on Italian last, with an “ELC” monogram. Lucian wants a pair of shoes for special occasions, for festive evenings. He visited the studio in Chisinau two months ago and was the first to confirm his presence at the Bucharest trunk show.
What other shoemakers do you admire?
Thanks to the internet and specialized websites I am able to follow the creations of masters all around the world. I could describe for hours everything that I like. I would especially mention Saint Crispins shoes. I like a lot the patina of Ivan Crivellaro shoes. Accidentally I ran into some images of shoes created in the Viennese Scheer studio. Images that convinced me once more that what we, shoemakers, do, is an art. I often go through John Lobb’s catalogue. This catalogue is almost like a manual for me but it’s also a big inspiration source. Stefano Bemer, Alexandru Maftei, Pierre Corthay…these names I pronounce often in my discussions with clients. Recently I began to correspond with Jan Peter Myhre from Oslo and I like very much what he does. I wish to finally start a Norwegian derby on this occasion.
Valentin Frunza & Co Official website – valentinfrunza.com