Allan Baudoin’s pathway into the upper echelons of shoemaking has been quick, if unconventional to start with. His first foray into working life took him to Apple, where he worked as a business development executive. Yet secretly, there was a young man who grew up on Paris’s Left Bank who had a natural eye and appreciation for elegance, refinement and beauty.
Back in the late ‘40s, a contemporary of Pamela Harriman’s once recalled of Paris: “Every night then was lived in black tie. There was less money than in New York or London, but far more luxury; there were fewer names and far more taste.” Previously occupied by Chanel, the clues are in the brand’s magnificent store in Mayfair’s Burlington Arcade, which opened in 2019. Neatly positioned in his store is a selection of 17th century French furniture, brought from his home in Paris. To the naked eye there is a beautiful Boulle cabinet, veneered with ebony and marquetry of engraved brass in the manner of André-Charles Boulle, the most famous French cabinet maker. Additionally, there is a French walnut chair with period needlework upholstery. This superior standard of marquetry and needlework is a different type of craft to shoemaking, but is an example of Allan’s understanding and commitment to pieces of undeniable beauty and artisanship. The number of current black tie invitations may pale in comparison to 1940s Paris, but Allan has already predicted their return by offering a new selection of their iconic Sagans.