Stefano Bemer entered into a new era since Tommaso Melani has taken the wheel. Their RTW line seems to be more and more consistant (like Tony Gaziano & Dean Girling’s shoes from the point of view of refinement). Gaziano&Girling are my favorites, in point of Ready- to-wear shoes. I believe that at the present day they convey the best quality-price ratio. Quality control is flawless and the focusing on the up-to-date design ensures that their business model is a winner.
Coming back to Stefano Bemer, Tommaso equipped the brand with everything necessary for this one to comply with the RTW shoes market. The brand image is a very good one, the lasts are suitable to every taste (which is important when you want to sell RTW) and the leathers are quite interesting.
My Bemer shoes do have a somewhat different feel than the rest of my Italian footwear, but that shouldn’t be surprising. The Italian air can be felt as soon as you hold the shoe in your hand, but the last speaks.The shoe follows the contour of my foot while being comfortable but not too snug. It is not a heavy shoe, the English sort of shoe, that always seems to say “Hey, I’m here! Do you feel me?”. They are much less stiff than any other new shoes I’ve had. The GW sole is flexible, thus making the shoe very comfortable. The sole is a closed channel sole, and the attention for details can be seen starting from the fiddle back waist and up to the brogueing.Overall aspect is excellent and looks very neat. The leather gets a very fine glossiness after several polishes and has a good elasticity, so you can see that it ages nicely. A more beautiful version of this derby would have been in buffalo leather or hatchgrain, but when I ordered the model Tommaso didn’t have those leathers, they weren’t available. Maybe with the next pair…
There are many who regret the period when Stefano Bemer shoes were made entirely by hand. Given the changes made due to the disappearance of Stefano Bemer, I believe that Tommaso is leading the brand in the right direction. To limit yourself only to bespoke shoes is no longer possible nowadays, I think, for a brand that wants to evolve. On a long term, these changes of paradigm (see Stefano Bemer or Anthony Delos) will raise a lot the level of expectancy of the RTW/MTO shoe buyer.
If shoemakers like Tony Gaziano or those trained by Stefano Bemer himself didn’t leave their print on the RTW, we wouldn’t have nowadays models that almost make you not turn your steps towards bespoke shoes. (Take for exemple J. FitzPatrick Westlake RTW mixed calf/tweed button boot. Few years ago it was unbeliveble to find a button in RTW range. Another exemple would be Museum Calf few years ago available only at Lobb Paris. Now you can have Radica leather on Meermin, Carmina , J.FitzPatrick and so on.)
And we must not forget that neither for G&G nor for Stefano Bemer is bespoke dead. Sometimes we forget that bespoke shoemaking is not a flower garden, and that offering bench made Goodyear welted models can be a compromise that helps both the shoemaker and the client.
Just like G&G wouldn’t be here today without the help of Xavier Maier, Stefano Bemer brand wouldn’t be what he is today without the experience or the vision of Tommaso Melani. Those shoes are made in highly organized and efficient factories. To be competitive on the market you must offer variety, personalization (MTO), quality leathers and a proper flagship store. And all these cost money. Otherwise, you will eventually remain a relic of the past, an extraordinary shoemaker with shoes displayed in museums, but with a lot of everyday problems. And I like my shoes to be made by happy guys like Tony or Tommaso.