The fingers of the skilled craftsmen in John Lobb’s Paris atelier let your feet do the walking in comfort and style. The house responsible for elevating bespoke footwear to the sublime has taken its latest cue from the early 20th century, adapting elements from the Art Deco period for its new oxfords ($7,650), which feature box-calf leather and patterned material from Parisian fabric houses Verel de Belval and Dedar. Like all John Lobb creations, each shoe in the Bespoke Collection is entirely formed on a hand-carved wooden last: Artisans first stretch and shape the leather around the form, then weave in the patterned canvas details. Stitching on the soles completes these pedestrian masterpieces, which can be admired both on the foot and off.
John Lobb, 212.888.9797, www.johnlobb.com —Jill Newman
Nancy Gonzalez and her son, Santiago, take similar pains to handcraft exceptional accessories from rare leathers, such as crocodile, which they source exclusively from farms, selecting only the softer, suppler, blemish-free skin of the animal’s belly. To achieve the rich color and luster of the Santiago Gonzalez wallet ($650) and Dopp kit ($1,275), a mix of natural vegetable and mineral dyes is applied by hand in layers. After carrying out the staining process, craftsmen producing the Nancy Gonzalez handbag ($3,650) further enrich the appearance of the leather by rubbing it with a smooth agate stone to reveal layers of color.
Handwork at Ulysse Nardin is by no means confined to hewing and finishing the company’s mechanical movements. To enhance the visual impact of its horologic innovations, the Swiss watchmaker employs some of the oldest decorative techniques available. To render the brilliant areas of colored cloisonné enamel on this dragon-motif dial, artisans delineate the image using tiny metal strips, filling in each section with powdered glass; the whole dial is then fired in an oven to produce the jewellike luster of this 88-piece limited edition ($40,900).
Ulysse Nardin, 561.988.8600, www.ulysse-nardin.ch —James D. Malcolmson