The famous London shoemaker GJ Cleverley offers a beautiful slip-on shoe named after the legendary man of style Baron Alexis de Redé (1922 – 2004). The Baron, a banker and a minor Austrian aristocrat, lead one of the most stylish lives of the second half of the twentieth century, based in a majestic apartment in the Hotel Lambert on Paris’s Ile Saint Louis. He was also such a prolific customer of GJ Cleverley that the company’s managing director, George Glasgow, remembers being told by its late founder, George Cleverley, that he simply couldn’t remember a time when he wasn’t making shoes for the Baron.
The point of this introduction is to demonstrate that the Baron was a man of very refined taste and elegance. He told his biographer, Hugo Vickers, “I dislike men who do not wear white shirts after six’o’clock.” Vickers reports that de Redé was similarly contemptuous of men who wear short socks. Although the Baron enjoyed life at the very top of European society in the Sixties and Seventies, and so lived to a set of standards quite different from today, both of his uncompromising opinions still ring true.
The white shirt, especially if worn with a dark suit, echoes the simplicity of an evening shirt under a dinner jacket. It has an unrivalled crispness, and it looks far more elegant under artificial light, or better still candlelight, than it does during the day, when it can look rather stark. For a truly refined look wear one with a dark blue mohair suit (using substantial cloth, not the lightweight showbiz stuff), and a heavy twill silk tie in a solid navy blue. You might not end up with a shoe named after you, but you will turn some heads.