Passus makes luxury shoes with an Eastern European accent – Robb Report
Luxury European shoemaking, like sewing, has its roots in medieval master craftsmen. The most august fashion houses are English and Italian, but in shoemaking there is another venerable lineage: Austro-Hungarian.
While the English are known for their refined but sturdy footwear, and the Italians for their sharp designs and lighter construction, the Central European tradition emphasizes old world methods and materials, continuing to dominate the shoe. completely handmade. Sometimes this dedication can be accompanied by a slightly outdated design and presentation. Passus (whose name comes from the Latin “step”) is a new brand dedicated to preserving exquisite Austro-Hungarian craftsmanship while offering contemporary style and service.
With that in mind, Passus shoes are made almost entirely by hand, from the click (i.e. cut) of the upper to the hand stitching of the soles. There are some elements of high-quality shoe making that cannot be felt and not seen, such as the composition of the toe and heel reinforcements. In this case, it’s leather – which conforms to the shape of the wearer’s foot over time – but most factory-made shoes, even at the top end, use plastic. Other aspects are immediately visible. The shape of the Passus models is comparable to that of the bespoke: higher arches, narrower waists, sharper angles and curves. The brand’s signature oak tanned sole is hand-stitched at the front but pegged at the waist (literally hammered into small wooden pegs) so the sole curves dramatically inward and up towards the heel in a half-artisan and half-sculpted way. . The shapes themselves are as slim and shapely as their English counterparts, yet soft and surprisingly spacious to wear.
Gabor Halmos, co-owner of Passus, has spent the past 25 years working as a liaison in the United States for several European luxury brands. In addition to working with Vass (whose founder, László Vass, helped popularize Austro-Hungarian shoes internationally) while stocking them at Bergdorf Goodman, Halmos founded Sartoriale, a revolutionary fashion-centric online store. Italian luxury menswear, in 2000. It was through Sartoriale, Halmos explains that he came across innovative shoemakers from England and Italy, France and Japan and the idea grew to combine the modern sensibility of new European and Japanese brands with old world Hungarian craftsmanship he knew. Halmos started the brand with Vass’s former student Rezső Kuti and now runs it with his brother Balint.
Despite being a young brand with modern attitudes to style, service and e-commerce, Passus has been able to bring in local shoemakers with decades of experience. This combination of traditional techniques and contemporary sensibility is at the heart of the brand’s appeal. This is how high-profile crafts will survive, says Halmos, citing the fashion houses of Anderson, Sheppard and Rubinacci as expert examples of staying fresh while preserving heritage.
One of the pillars of Passus is a sophisticated bespoke program that begins with an online consultation, guiding the customer through a wide range of models and specifications. Like a costume or a perfume, many decisions depend on lifestyle and personal taste. The consultation can start with tweaking your current favorites, or you can design a pair that you’ve never seen but always wanted.
The shoes themselves are endlessly versatile: the elegant split-toe derby can be designed as an archetypal formal shoe with a beveled waist, a more casual shoe with a sturdy double leather sole, or even Goyser stitching for protection against the storms. Sizing is straightforward, and Passus consultants have an encyclopedic knowledge of how their durations stack up against other brands. If you’re having trouble finding the right fit, Passus will even send you a trial pair that you can check out before you start working. The result is a handmade, personally specified shoe that arrives shiny from the workshop in 6-8 weeks.
Yet despite all modern conveniences, Halmos says, “What we don’t want to compromise on is quality. Our methods are the same as for tailor-made, we cannot produce more than 30 pairs per month. “
True to Halmos’ insistence that the best heritage brands continually adapt, Passus has also developed a new line of boots inspired by American military and vintage work boots, but using Austro-Hungarian artisan techniques: hand-sewn. hand and hand spans, using Goyser stitching. and Vibram soles. A lot of guys who love boots appreciate their craftsmanship, Halmos remarks, but it will be a whole new level.