Despatching footwear from Sydney to the Great International
Exhibitions of Victorian times, his exemplary work with last and
awl had earned him a Royal Warrant as Bootmaker to Edward, Prince
of Wales by the time he returned home to Britain and set up shop in
London in 1866.
Over the following century, the brand became shoemaker of choice
for prominent politicians as well as royalty of a showbiz variety.
More than ever before name, the name “John Lobb” is redolent of
unsurpassed shoemaking excellence. It carries the same cache
amongst the sartorial cognoscenti as Aston Martin and Patek
Philippe do amongst automotive and horological devotees
In 1976, John Lobb was
acquired by the Hermès Group. However, the London bespoke workshop,
John Lobb Ltd, remained in the hands of the family, and continues
to operate independently from its premises at 9 St James’s Street.
The Paris bespoke atelier, the By Request service and ready-to-wear
collection, as well as all the other John Lobb boutiques, are all
part of the Hermès-owned company.
Shortly after acquiring the
company, Hermès recognised the demand for a John Lobb ready-to-wear
collection of men’s shoes, as Lobbs were only available to bespoke
customers, limiting access to a privileged few. In 1982 the debut
ready-to-wear collection was launched, with the first store
showcasing the RTW line opening in Paris in 1990.
Each pair of the brand’s shoes is the result of countless hours
of creative endeavour - in adherence to a vision, conceived by
Paula Gerbase since she became artistic director in 2014, based on
deep probes into the company’s archives, which pays tribute to the
eponymous founder’s rural roots - as well as a 190-step craft
process which elevates the concept of artisanal endeavour to new
It’s impossible to overstate what a distinction we deem it to
be, to become one of a handful of external vendors of such
exemplary examples of contemporary shoemaking as: the house’s
iconic Lopez loafer, a style dating back to 1950 with a neat saddle
and a hand stitched apron; the Tyne, another loafer, this time in
supple and unlined suede, featuring a raised apron seam and tonal
reverse suede accents on the collar; the William, a quintessential
double-buckle style whose narrative goes back to the 1940s; and the
‘Lawry’ Chelsea boot, whose silhouette and exquisitely textured
elastic and pull tabs call to mind the footwear sported by
avant-garde dressers of 60s London.