Shoes can make or break a look. You can ace oversized, master head-to-toe monochrome – but if what’s on your feet falls short, it spells ruin for everything else you’re wearing.
No one understands this more than Scott Schuman. Perhaps better known by his moniker The Sartorialist, Schuman is the founder of, and photographer behind, the eponymous site that took the practice of papping well put-together outfits online back in 2005. His is a lens everyone’s clamouring in front of, but it’s not so much the fashion week peacocks he points it at, as the best examples of everyday style instead.
Since launching over a decade ago, The Sartorialist has ballooned from a fledgling blog into an online superbrand, with Schuman regularly tapped by fashion labels eager to share a slice of his trend-spotting cool. There have been collaborations with names from Nespresso to DKNY, Gant to Gap, each drawing on Schuman’s unmatched sixth sense for style.
None, however, have proved as glove-like a fit as Schuman’s latest team-up with Sutor Mantellassi – the 1912-founded luxury Italian shoemaker that took Pitti Uomo by storm when it announced its relaunch in 2015.
A self-professed Italophile (“Italy is my number one inspiration,” he said in a Vogue interview last September), Schuman first partnered with the label last year, designing the MM3 – a dress shoe inspired by Italian actor Marcello Mastroanni to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his star being added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. A pebble-grain calf leather Derby in a rich shade of brown, the MM3 comes fitted with a barely-there lug sole, giving all the comfort of function-first footwear, without skimping on style.
Today, the pair unveil an all-new line of premium leather trainers. Bringing his eye for fine footwear to the label’s century’s worth of craftsmanship once again, Schuman shows that a clean, superbly made pair of kicks can look just as smart as your brogues.
A single design available in a selection of colourways spanning subtle and striking, the collection includes four variations featuring premium leather uppers, contrast suede panels and white laces and outsoles. And while most of the colours might steer too punchy for a suit, they’ll certainly lend a slick touch to your smart-casual line-up.
Scott Schuman Interview
We caught up with Scott to learn more about the collaboration, the styles every man needs in his footwear rotation, and the secret to Sartorialist-worthy style:
FashionBeans: Can you tell us a bit about how the collaboration came about?
Scott Schuman: “I was a Sutor Mantellassi customer already, so I was already familiar with the brand’s exceptional style and quality. When they contacted me about designing the MM3, I was immediately on board. I already had a shoe in mind that I wanted for myself, but it also seemed to fit perfectly with the concept of the Mastroianni collection.
“After the success of the first collaboration, we decided to extend the partnership for a year and design two more capsule collections featuring several dress shoe styles and one sneaker in various colourways.”
You’ve collaborated with numerous brands – from Kiehl’s to Roy Rogers – in the past. What made Sutor Mantellassi so appealing?
“I’ve been wearing Sutor Mantellassi shoes for years, so it was a natural collaboration. I love Italy and I love the Italian heritage of the Sutor Mantellassi brand.”
How many pairs of footwear does a man need to cover his bases, and what should they be?
“Personally, I wear my brown pebble-grain leather, lug sole Sutor Mantellassi Derby shoes most days (whether I’m out shooting, shopping, or wandering around the city).
“A leather sneaker is also great and very versatile, especially as an everyday shoe, as it walks that line between sporty and refined.”
What’s your favourite style from the collection, and how would you wear it?
“The original MM3. I also love the MM3 Derby from our first capsule collection. The commando lug sole is so comfortable and it really lifts you off the ground. I wear it often with dark denim, a white dress shirt under a navy jumper, all underneath my cashmere navy coat.”
What’s the one biggest mistake a man can make with his footwear?
“Going for footwear that’s overly flashy or overly designed. I like footwear that complements your outfit but doesn’t dominate the whole look.”
What’s the best style lesson you have to share?
“To pick shoes first when you’re getting ready in the morning. When I consider what activities I’m doing that day, whether it’s walking around the city shooting or riding around the city on my bike, I first decide the shoes, and then build the outfit around them.”
What is in your opinion an essential piece for men for SS16?
“A print camp shirt. Lately I’ve been loving Batiks and different prints. Taking a print and pattern and mixing the two in an interesting way is what is sticking with me right now.”
Want to ask Scott Schuman a question of your own? See him in store at Harrods tomorrow, Saturday 16 April, 3-5pm in the Men’s Shoe Salon, where he’ll be signing copies of his new book, The Sartorialist X.
The Sartorialist x Sutor Mantellassi launches today, 15th April, exclusively at Harrods, in store and online at harrods.com. Prices start at £385. Stay tuned for another drop from the collaboration later in the year.
To see more from The Sartorialist, visit thesartorialist.com.
To learn more about Sutor Mantellassi, its over 100-year heritage, and its exclusive made-to-order service available at its Milan and Florence stores, see sutormantellassi.com.