Reviewing the Crockett & Jones AW20 Collection
I’m a big fan of Crockett & Jones, and one of the reasons is how much of an event their new season collections are. Many shoemakers (especially long-running “heritage” makers) tend to rest on their laurels and produce very safe and samey design - "Look, here's one of our best selling designs but now in oxblood instead of burgundy."
A common theme for AW20 are designs that sit at polar ends of the formality / chunkiness spectrum - refined and sleek Handgrade models sit surprisingly harmoniously alongside really robust looking storm-welted designs.
Boots, boots, boots
It’s a boot heavy season, without doubt. My absolute standout favourite design is the Aldershot, a mixed-material Derby boot with a scotch grain body and rough-out suede shaft. I love the buckled ankle strap too, and am looking forward to getting into the store to see if they are comfy as they look.
A slightly less chunky and hard-wearing option is the Cranton - a short chelsea boot that’s more the height of a Chukka. I don’t think the visual balance is great with this though - it looks quite stubby overall.
Much more successful is Kew - a dressy looking Chukka from the Handgrade collection. It’s made of willow grain leather, which isn’t a super common sight and is pretty versatile and attractive. Hopefully it finds its way into more designs. The lines of the grain run lengthwise with the boot, which does a good job of drawing the eye along the toe.
There’s only one oxford in the new collection, but it’s an impressive one. The James was designed as a limited edition to support the (now delayed) new James Bond film.
It’s a simple design but a very sleek looking shoe with a chiselled toe. The packaging is all 007 branded too. At £850 it’s the most expensive C&J shoe I’m aware of other than their crocodile models, so whether you think it offers enough to set it apart for the extra money is debatable.
A couple of interesting monkstraps to call out. Lawrence 2 is a pretty refined looking Handgrade design with a stitched toe and apron front. The single buckle keeps it looking quite understated.
On the other hand, Whitby is a chunky double-strap design. The oversized Vibram sole and storm-welt give it a completely different and much more robust feel than the Lawrence 2.
As with the monkstraps, loafers have something refined and classic in the form of Vincent 2, a tassel loafer from the Handgrade collection; or something rather chunky with Henley 3, a penny loafer with the same oversized Vibram sole and storm-welt as the Whitby monkstrap.
So a strong showing over all. Noticeably more casual options than one might expect, although C&J say this coincidental as far as Covid coming along and ruining the dress shoe industry.