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Japanese artisan shoemaker Keitaro Takano of Clematis visited New Zealand last week, being hosted at Crane Brothers‘ High Street store where an exhibition of Clematis shoes was held and a workroom set up for shoemaking and shoe shining demonstrations. Guests to the trunk show were treated to divine catering from Ebisu and other beautiful and refined Japanese touches.

Taking up to 10 months to create one pair of shoes, Keitaro hand makes, sews and welts approximately 60 pairs per year using European leathers, from his studio in Tokyo’s Ginza neighbourhood. Distinct in character, with details often including sweeping curves of stitches and leaf shaped rubber inserts on the soles, Keitaro’s shoes showcase his unique and unsurpassed level of craftsmanship.

Keitaro is one of the country’s entirely Japanese-schooled artisanal shoemakers, who trained under the renowned master Nobuyoshi Seki, from whom he learnt not only the craft of shoemaking but also how to understand the soul of the shoe. Clematis was established in 2008 and has gone on to establish itself as one of Japan’s leading specialist makers of bespoke footwear for both men and women. “I wanted to do something new, something of my own,” he says.

Named for the Clematis flower, a symbol of joy for a traveller, Keitaro creates his shoes to last, as if they too are going on a journey. Crafted within his Ginza studio – an area of Tokyo famed for its upmarket shopping, dining and entertaining – Keitaro works closely with clients, addressing their foot shape, material, and detailing preferences.

For the discerning New Zealand gentleman, a range of Clematis’ products and services will be made available exclusively through Crane Brothers – from made-to-order and made-to-measure through to full bespoke via a series of fittings over a 6-month period, with prices starting from $1300.

“Bespoke footwear is a great investment, and a well-made pair of shoes will last you a lifetime,” says Crane Brothers owner Murray Crane. “For us, it’s another facet to our exciting custom offering and allows us to offer a complete head-to-toe made to measure experience.”

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