This week the e-commerce company Mr. Porter brought out an exclusive collection of Bass Weejuns. And I mean exclusive in every sense of the word: the shoe carries a whopping price tag of $480, a pretty penny indeed.
Today, perhaps to get consumers excited and justify the price (especially when you consider the shoes are made in El Salvador), the brand’s online magazine The Journal posted a Weejuns feature story. I provided the writer with a few quotes:
“It was the right shoe at the right time,” says Mr Christian Chensvold, editor-in-chief of the blog Ivy Style, explaining the Weejun’s immediate success. “It was casual at a time when dress among young people was becoming more casual, and not so expensive that a college student on a fixed allowance couldn’t afford it. The shoe seems to have had a magical quality that made it somehow new and fresh when it was first popularised, and yet also instantly classic.”
Mr Chensvold puts it down to the shoe’s inherent flexibility. “You can make them whatever you want it to be, from preppy to punk,” he explains. “Die-hard trad guys will wear it with a suit, and over the past 70 years I’m sure there have been many guys, both young and old, who’ve worn a pair of black Weejuns with eveningwear. That deliberate casualness, or incorrect correctness, is a distinguishing hallmark of the WASPish, preppy approach to dressing.
“At the other end of the spectrum,” he continues, “guys in the 1950s – in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, according to legend – figured out that the shoe looked great without socks, even though it is essentially a dress shoe. And one step further, with shorts instead of pants. In London, those long-time Ivy guys still really fetishise the hell out of the shoe and associate it with all sorts of mid-century things like jazz and modern art.”
I’m rushing out now to meet with RVP. I’m sure he’ll get a kick out of hearing about these. A penny sure doesn’t go as far as it used to. — CC