The old saying ‘the last shall be first’ still counts for both bespoke shoemaker and the shoe designer. Developing a new last starts with hand sketches and a description of the type of product for which it is meant and its construction.
The last is always created according to the final shoe envisioned and there are many different types of shoes that need specifically fashioned lasts. This is where the last manufacturer and his development department play a crucial role in transforming the designer’s vision into a perfect last that meets all technical, orthopaedic and aesthetic requirements.
In order to achieve this task the designer collaborates closely with a last modeller of his trust. In our case it is Signor Loris, the gentleman on the video which shows the onset of a new Zonkey Boot last in a joint rasping and sanding session with some intense discussions and several espresso breaks. This creative session takes place in his working compartment which is about three by three meters and equipped with a work bench and all the tools needed to fine tune the rough turned last. No machines are used at this final stage, only putty, rasps, files, sanding paper, a sharp eye and golden hands.
Signor Loris is the modeller of our choice and we have a history going back 25 years, since I started to work with the last manufacturer he is employed with. This long term collaboration enables him to understand the aesthetic and technical brace of our last family – or as he puts it, ‘…sono fatte come si faceva un volta’ (they are made as they once used to be made).