Every industry has its greats. They leave their mark in a variety of forms; ideas, stories, heroic acts, products, processes or traditions just to name a few. George Cleverley is just one of those greats. In his legacy he not only left one of the finest bespoke shoe making houses in the world but also the elegant and venerable butterfly loafer (which, it should be noted is only one of his great designs).
Unfortunately, I have been unable to unearth a comprehensive history of this shoe but what I do know is this. The shoe was first designed by George Cleverley himself and produced on a bespoke basis by George Cleverley LTD. At a later date, sometime in the 1970’s, Mr. Cleverley was hired by the bespoke shoe house Poulson Skoane as a design consultant (but I am not sure if this arrangement started before or after Poulson Skoane was acquired by New & Lingwood). At some point during his tenure at Poulson Mr. Cleverley introduced the butterfly loafer under the Poulson Skoane name (and consequently the New & Lingwood name as well). Sometime after Poulson Skoane was acquired by New & Lingwood it was converted into a ready to wear shoe line, thus making the butterfly loafer available to a wider consumer base, like myself. I was able to acquire mine when I was in London this past summer at New & Lingwood (and to be totally honest, I told myself I wasn’t leaving London until I somehow acquired a pair).
There are two defining characteristics of a traditional butterfly loafer. Most importantly there are the overlapping pieces of leather up the top of the shoe. I can only imagine they are called butterfly loafers because the overlapping pieces look somewhat like butterfly wings, but I could be wrong. The second, and much less significant characteristic is the brogued apron on the top of the shoe (brogueing is the holes punched in the leather along an edge).
As far as I know there are only a handful of places to acquire my beloved butterfly loafers. Poulson Skoane (aka New & Lingwood but made by Crockett & Jones), George Cleverley and Alan Flusser’s Custom Shop are the three that come to mind. However, when I wore mine to Leffot the proprietor Mr. Taffel expressed a keen interest in them and noted they would look great in a brown suede, I couldn’t agree more. I have since been hoping and praying that he has them made for his store. But we shall see… Regardless, they are of the lesser known styles of shoes, which I think only adds to their essence. May I recommend that if you have the opportunity to acquire a pair that you do not pass it up.
[…] over by Grand Central and happened to notice a gentleman wearing an alternate version of my beloved butterfly loafers. I had never seen this version before. The only other version I remember seeing has been at […]
I am interested in buying a pair of these beauties, but need help.
Knowing that a pair of loafers at Edward Green’s is for me 7.5 or 8/E, what size would you recommend for the butterfly loafers? the same?
Thank you so much!
First, nice choice, butterfly loafers are great. To be honest, I do not have experience with EG shoes so I do not want to speak for their sizing, as much fo the fit depends on the shape of the last and your foot. But, I will say this, New & Lingwood’s butterfly loafers are made by Crockett & Jones, which uses UK sizing, which is the same as EG. So, I would imagine you would be a 7.5 or 8.
Too bad you are not a UK 10, the ones I have are UK 10 and are too big on me so I’m looking to sell them and downsize.
Good luck with the acquisition,
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A fine looking pair of shoes, I agree. Unfortunately the quality is hopeless and the service worse. I bought a pair this year and after only a couple of wears, the leather on part of the ‘butterfly’ on one of the shoes began to badly pucker – not caused by use, just a flaw in the leather that had been suppressed for sale. I took them back and N&L took them away to their factory for a couple of months, resoled them and sent them back as they were with the flawed leather still in place. Just a joke at this price to receive that kind of service.
I happened to be going across to Edward Green and I asked them what they thought and they agreed that it was an imperfection in the leather. These shoes should never have been sold but at the very least N&L should have recognised that they were not up to scratch and replaced that piece of leather or that shoe (or both shoes – whatever they think most appropriate).
If what you say is correct, I couldn’t agree with you more. Sorry you had to deal with that.