In Conversation With Renaud Paul-Dauphin

Celebrating the grand opening of John Lobb's Hong Kong store recently with its rich British heritage timeless qualities of craftsmanship and master shoemakers, the signature brand with a style made of modern aesthetic and timeless elegance. Renaud Paul-Dauphin, CEO of JOHN LOBB strongly believing in "the past is a present for the future", recalling one of Jean-Louis Dumas-Hermès mottos which perfectly applies to the brand. Paul-Dauphin told mylifestylenews  the timeless elegance brand for over 140 years and still perpetuates the Bespoke tradition to serve those men who are the masters of their own personal style and a pair of John Lobb oxfords is the perfect complement to any formal or casual ensemble......

After spending almost 20 years with HERMÈS, I joined JOHN LOBB as C.E.O. on September 15th 2007, a company which has been part of the HERMÈS INTERNATIONAL group since 1976.

During my time as Managing Director of the tableware division since 2004, I implemented synergies between the brands HERMÈS, PUIFORCAT & SAINTLOUIS and established overall policies and direction for the division.

Previously, I was their International sales director (1998- 2004) and export director (1993-1997) for the tableware division. I was also the export area manager with the HERMÈS Perfume subsidiary (1988-1993).

Since I joined HERMÈS in 1988, I have been embracing the “company’s unique culture and values ; a blend of the senses and the soul”. Being a 24-year fan of JOHN LOBB, I like to name it a “signature brand with a style made of modern aesthetic and timeless elegance.” And recalls one of Jean-Louis Dumas-Hermès motto which perfectly applies to JOHN LOBB : “The past is a present for the future”.

In 2013, John Lobb achieved significant expansion in all markets, emerging or more traditional markets, and the company strengthened its position and enhanced its visibility.

Northampton increased its physical capacity with the extension in to Chaucer Court, a second building in the same road. These efforts allowed an increase in welted pairs produced and a sustained improvement quality at unprecedented levels.

Every pair of John Lobbs is the fruit of a meticulous 190-step process carried out by highly qualified artisans. Last-maker, pattern-cutter, laster, closer, polisher or tree-maker; each step in the manufacturing process constitutes a true vocation, craftsmanship defined by attention to detail, in which every gesture is important.

At the heart of the English workshop in Northampton, production methods are inspired by the traditional bespoke bootmaking techniques. Leather selection, assembling techniques and finishing takes place following the same rules of the art. 

Every collection thus adopts the made-to-measure skill that is the core of John Lobb’s signature to this day. John Lobb takes pride in using only the most exceptional materials.

The choice of leathers is an essential step, as only full-grain leathers are worthy. The surface of the skin displays the beauty of its natural grain, which must not show even the slightest flaw. The requisite qualities include specific thicknesses, perfect suppleness and depth of tonality.

John Lobb is Unique and scores "The perfect 10" because:

1. An outstanding heritage since 1866
2. Finest craftsmanship in Northampton and in Paris
3. Quality and selection of only the finest full-grain leathers
4. Unique creative concepts and technically exceptional patterns
5. Exceptional quality in every area
6. Meticulous attention to detail
7. Sleek and harmonious lasts
8. Distinctive styles, timeless elegance, ultimate comfort
9. Unique accessories
10. Full range of in-house care and repair services

To meet the needs and expectations of our customers, John Lobb has created a unique partnership with some of the world’s finest hotels, adding its expertise to the exceptional levels of service they are renowned for. 

In eight selected luxury hotels around the world, dozens of butlers have been trained and certified by John Lobb in the rituals and techniques of shoe care, and offer their services to
the discerning traveller. 

A specially-designed leather polishing chair provides the centrepiece to this service. A term for tailored clothing made at a customer’s behest and exactly to the customer’s specification, without use of a pre-existing pattern, differentiating it from made-to-measure. 

Has its roots in Savile Row, dating from the 17th century when tailors held full lengths of cloth on their premises. 

Once a customer had chosen a length of cloth, it was said to have 'been spoken for'. 'Bespoke'. Instantly elegance is redefined or might we venture further to say that in 'Bespoke’ elegance finds its essential self. Never showy but subtly felt and shared. 

John Lobb has been cultivating timeless elegance for over 140 years and still perpetuates the Bespoke tradition to serve those men who are the masters of their own personal style.

At the heart of our craft is Bespoke, bootmaking at its most unique, its most intimate. 'Mogador' as 32 'rue de Mogador', in the very heart of Paris, where John Lobb welcomes their clients into the 'Salon de Mesure’. ‘Mogador Purple’ as Mogador, the ancient name for Essaouira in Morocco, a port famous for its trade in Tyrian Purple Dye obtained from Murex shells collected
off its shores. 

This dark red pigment has been highly valued since Roman times. The deep red was used as a border on the Emperors robes.

At John Lobb, time makes the difference and history is at the heart of the brand, defined by the foundations of the craft and the heritage of craftsmanship.

John Lobb owes its reputation to its creator’s origins as a bespoke bootmaker. Started by creating special boots for gold miners, with hollow heels to conceal the nuggets they unearthed.

The William style of double-buckle shoe is one of the great icons of John Lobb and dates back as far as 1945. William has been the star of recent design-led campaigns.

In 1866, the bootmaker moved to London, propelled by the success of the boots he created, particularly those he crafted for the Prince of Wales.

A few decades later, in 1902, a workshop opened in Paris. In the early 1980’s, John Lobb introduced its ready-to-wear collections: new collections for a new lifestyle. Produced as limited editions and in iconic shapes, they recreate, down to the last detail, the authentic style of the made-to-measure creations, with which they share the same demanding quality.

Now handmade in Northampton by skilled John Lobb craftsmen, they embody timeless elegance. 32 rue de Mogador, Paris, is where John Lobb carries out its bespoke profession. 

From the fitting room to the workshop, each and every pair of John Lobbs is designed according to the customer’s dreams, to the exact measurement of his foot. Bespoke creation epitomises the traditional art of bootmaking with virtuosity and refinement.

Season after season, John Lobb offers ready-to-wear collections: oxfords, derbys, loafers, buckles, boots and casual models. Mythical and modern designs including select limited editions such as Saint Crépin.

The classical, understated silhouette of the oxfords is for refined gentlemen who cultivate the elegance of discretion. A pair of John Lobb oxfords is the perfect complement to any formal or casual ensemble. 

The distinctive detail is the closed entry vamps sewn over the quarters, adding to the fluidity of the contour. A less formal style than the oxford, the city style by excellence, the John Lobb
derby is prized for its elegance and ease of wear. 

The signature of the shoe is the open entry, its quarter sewn under the vamp, a singularity that gives it a style both dapper and relaxed.

Emblematic of the John Lobb style, buckle shoes are the hallmark of the brand. The famous William, created in 1945, still sets the standard. Certain models, made from a single piece of leather, require technical prowess that is unmistakably associated with John Lobb craftsmanship.

Practical and elegant, the John Lobb loafers are easy to wear and highly regarded by men who live life on the go. Lopez, the emblematic model, boasts an apron sewn entirely by hand, giving flexibility and comfort.

At John Lobb, ankle boots are designed to offer unwavering comfort. This is why the bootmaker pays special attention to the shape of the vamp, to ensure excellent flexibility at the ankle and a refined elegance to the eye.

For men who like to play with trends, John Lobb created the casual line. Extremely flexible and contemporary models combine elegance and relaxation, whether at home or on the town.

In olden times, boomakers and cobblers used to honour their patron saint through a chef d’oeuvre they crafted to express their devotion. At John Lobb this is called the Saint-Crépin.

Each year on the eve of St. Crispin, patron saint of shoemakers, a limited-edition design of exceptional refinement is revealed - a quintessential expression of creativity and craftsmanship to illustrate why, after 150 years, John Lobb continues to be regarded as England’s finest bootmaker.

In keeping with the spirit of this tradition, in 2013 John Lobb designed and crafted another unique limited edition, a celebration of their know-how.

The Saint-Crépin 2013 takes the form of a derby whose flawless lines follow the
contours of the contemporary 2511 last on which it is created.

By Request service allows customer to place a special order on shoes that reflect their style and precisely match their personal expectations.

After choosing from over 150 available models from the past and current John Lobb collections, the service offers to personalise the pair in selecting the leather, the colour, the width and the sole.

The boutique on Boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris is especially dedicated to the by request special orders although other stores plan regular By Request fairs throughout the year. 

Focused on a theme, fairs invite customer to design their own shoes while By Request surcharges are waived on orders placed during this time.

And now in communication, priority was given to the development of digital projects with the upgrade of the corporate website, the establishment and growth of the official Facebook page and developments on other new platforms, including Instagram. An old brand like us still yet to forget to get ourselves up-dated with the present modern communication technology. 

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