10 Questions for Pierre Corthay

French designer talks about balancing bespoke and ready-to-wear.

8. You have three branded stores in Japan. Is that a growing market for you?

PC: It’s probably the market that makes us grow the most. But it’s [difficult] because all the competitors are there, even the man who makes five pairs in Uzbekistan — he sells one pair in Japan. It’s a very special country. It’s our biggest market in addition to France.

9. Who is your most memorable customer?

PC: The Sultan of Brunei. His assistant called me [in 1993] and said, “My boss would like to meet you. Can you come to London?” I arrived, went to a hotel, called a number — it was like James Bond. I felt like I was on a secret mission. I didn’t know for whom I came. The first order was for 45 pairs. [Altogether], we made about 140 pairs of bespoke shoes for him over about two-and-a-half years. But the funny thing is, each time I met him, he received me in Nike sneakers, T-shirts and shorts.

10. What are your goals for the near future?

PC: I would like to study how to develop a ladies’ line. It would be in between masculine and feminine. I would also like to do bespoke sneakers. And probably in five years, we will make them in ready-to-wear. That’s the next step.


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