Last week I wanted to collect a new pair of shoes made by the Viennese bespoke shoemaker Lucian Maftei. He is the son of Alexandru Maftei, who founded the business after he stopped working for Scheer in the 1990s. Scheer is Vienna’s most prestigious and most expensive shoemaker. I met Lucian once again at Campe & Ohff, the made-to-measure shirtshop in Hamburg. Lucian Maftei has been visited this company for many years and he comes there on a monthly basis.
This is the fourth pair he’s made for but the first one using a new last made in the typical Budapest shape. He has copied my usual lasts and changed the toe cap. As the shoes were made on a new pair of lasts a small adjustment was necessary on the right shoe. It was a bit tight at the joint of the big toe so Lucian Maftei took the shoe back to the workroom to stretch it in this area.
The shoes are rather unusual by my standards because they are made of two different types of leather and they are stormwelted, a make typical for middle European shoemaking. For the braided stitching that joins the uppers and a welt with the insole a white linen thread was used. As this is part of the style I will leave this thread as it is instead of darkening it with brown wax polish.
A friend of mine collected a pair of tasselled loafers. It was his first order with Maftei and he was very happy with the result. The order took longer than expected due to a misunderstanding. The first pair was finished in a style that differed in a small detail from the sample shoe that my friend had seen in Vienna. So Lucian Maftei made a second pair of loafers and this time the style was correctly executed.
It was interesting to see how Lucian Maftei handled the issue. Not for a second did he try to talk my friend into accepting the shoe that didn’t look like the sample he had seen. He simply took the shoes back and produced a new pair. He told me before that he handles complaints this way, nevertheless it was interesting to see, that this is really his policy. I know of other craftsmen who’d rather try to talk the customer into accepting a pair that they’re not happy with or offering them a small discount.
Last year has been tough for travelling shoemakers and tailors and Maftei is no exception. Nevertheless he never complains, he just keeps on going. And it seems that customers are getting into the mood for new shoes again slowly. On the day I saw him in Hamburg he had six or seven appointments as far as I understood. Lucian will be back in Hamburg in the end of January and then I will be able to collect my new pair of shoes. If you are interested in an appointment please contact Campe & Ohff through their website.