British shoemaker Barker Black, established in 1880, recently opened its second U.S. store on North Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles. The new store’s decor highlights the brand’s heritage with walls of wooden shoe lasts and its signature skull-and-crossbones motif. Its skull-and-crossbones logo comes from the 17th Century Lancers, once England’s best-dressed regiment, and the inspiration for some of Barker Black’s shoe styles, which range from $775 to $5,500. “Our shoes walk the line between being old-fashioned and avant-garde,” says creative director Derrick Miller.
Miller says the must-have shoe this spring is the Hartwell wingtip loafer ($775), which, like all of the brand’s shoes, is named after a Lancer officer. The Hartwell works for both business and causal, and will be Barker Black’s first slip-on shoe to subtly incorporate the skull-and-crossbones motif into the toe punching detail. Another new style, the velvet slipper for $825, exemplifies its old-world craftsmanship: The signature is hand-embroidered on the slipper, and the soles are hand-tacked in a pattern inspired by the cobblers in Northampton, England, who used to compete for the finest and most unique tacking design.
Barker Black also offers made-to-order services where, for an additional 20 percent surcharge, customers can choose from a list of skins in the store’s leather book, or swap different styles and shapes shown in the store. “While we want to keep the integrity of the design,” explained Miller, “we also want to allow the customer freedom of self-expression.” (310.358.0293, www.barkerblack.com)