Masaru Okuyama (Part I)
A visit to Hong Kong bespoke shoemaker Masaru Okuyama’s atelier in Wan Chai granted us an exclusive look into the shoemaking craft with several pairs he was creating on the premises.
His work is best described as Regency England era with the rise of understated elegance and simplicity rather than 18th century extravagance. The shoes characterise these very ideals, shedding excess to exude beauty in its most basic form. Dainty, perfectly formed and subtle but stunning are the hallmarks of Masaru Okuyama bespoke shoes, shoes that may not be admired from a quick look but absolutely deserve a closer inspection.
One particular standout for us was the wholecut lazy-man with offset seams pictured above.
Specialties of Masaru-San would have to include his round toe lasts. In particular, his almond toe last with a rather pointy symmetrical rounded toe is one of the best in its category. Achieving a rare balance that isn’t look too long nor too pointy, his almond toe shoes are sleek and slimming without being constrictive.
The symmetrical toe-box becomes noticeably asymmetrical from the instep onwards to the heel cup, following the contours of left and right foot. Complemented by uniquely low sweeping quarters to a raised topline at the heel and gently curving Cuban heels, the overall effect is dainty but not feminine, and slimming without sacrificing comfort.
Let’s take a look at the sole finishing. Among the cleanest we have seen, Masaru-San’s beveled waist is closely tapered to completely hide the blind welt and outsole stitching.
Also unique with his insole construction is that the arch support is built into the insoles at the time of lasting rather than afterwards.
Needless to say, several of us have placed orders with Masaru-San and we will post a follow-up later on when we have our fittings. Stay tuned!
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