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Essential Journal

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Paint it Black

Operating at the intersection between refined and rugged, The Crockett & Jones Black Editions offer up an audacious dose of razor-sharp yet fashion-forward design

words by Will HALBERT

All too rare are the occasions when a sequel bests its original. For filmmakers, writers and musicians alike, the sophomore jinx of the second outing looms large like a billowing, black shroud. Luckily for Crockett & Jones, black is their new favourite colour.

Founded in 1879 in Northampton – the undisputed heartland of the UK’s illustrious shoemaking industry – Crockett & Jones’ founding family have made a name for themselves as a heritage brand that isn’t afraid to tread new ground. Following up on last year’s foray into fashion-forward, Japanese-inflected footwear for the modern gent, Crockett & Jones look set to join the all-too-rare and ever-elusive lineage of ante-upping sequels with a second Black Editions range.

In the Black Editions, uncompromising construction meets high-concept, Japanese sartorialism. Which makes perfect sense, really: Crockett & Jones has long been the British-made shoe of choice amongst the style-minded, heritage-obsessed Japanese. As is to be expected, irreverence and rebelliousness are key here, and Crockett & Jones dole out both with glee and by the boot load. In reality, this isn’t so much a sequel as it is a driving home of two simple, glaring truths: Crockett & Jones is a brand in complete mastery of its craft and it’s revelling in the sheer, creative joys of shoemaking. 

Bold without ever being loud, The Black Editions boast a quietly in-your-face confidence that can only come from Crockett & Jones’ signature class and calibre. Deftly avoiding any garish gimmicks in favour of a refined, informed and daring aesthetic, The Black Editions are all about turning heads, not rolling eyes. Chunky, cleated Vibram soles and all-black leathers add a razor sharp edge to the heritage brand’s typically more subtle, sartorialist stance.
In the Black Editions, Crockett & Jones have delved deep into their hall of fame to create something more akin to a rogue’s gallery.

The Coniston boot in black rough-out suede, for instance, adds more than a touch of rugged utilitarianism to an otherwise dressy little derby. The hefty Vibram sole imparts a further militaristic flourish to create a pair of boots that practically beg to be put through their paces. 

By the same token, the Pembroke full brogue derby – a thirty-year veteran of Crockett & Jones’ regular line up – is given a dose of all-black, Scotch Grain, mystique. A stone cold classic with newly-added sass, this Black Ed- ition of a style institution is just as at home on the country road as it is on the streets of Shoreditch. 

And then there’s the new kid on the block; the Henley III. Lean, mean and ever-so-slightly mod-esque in its appearance, the Henley III represents a contemporary,  fashion-forward addition to Crockett & Jones’ offerings. Rolling out in a supple, soft sheen, cavalry calf leather, the Henley III puts a fresh spin on the classic penny loafer.

There are no half measures to be found in Crockett & Jones’ latest Black Editions line up, no pulling of punches. You’ll find no contrast stitching used to soften its all-black boldness. No dialled-down leather sole to offset the range’s audacious silhouette. All three additions to the range are set to strip things back, crank things up, and make Crockett & Jones’ superlative leathers the real stars of the show. Make no mistake, The Black Editions are full-force, whole-hog, and hell-for-leather by design. And they’re coming this way. EJ

the Coniston 
soul Cleated Rubber
the leather Rough-out Suede
colour Black

the Henley 
soul Cleated Rubber
the leather Cavalry Calf
colour Black

the Pembroke  
soul Cleated Rubber
the leather Scotch Grain
colour Black