The Wall Street Journal had a nice little article about Rudolf Scheer & Sohne last week. It reminded me of one of the benefits of being in Moscow. Whereas living in the US can be a bit geographically isolating, Moscow is a relatively short plane ride to East Asia or Western Europe. I was actually going to stop by Vienna last year on my way to Berlin, but when my plans in Germany were cancelled, so were the ones in Austria.
It’s quite regrettable because Vienna is said to be a sort of holdover from 19th century Europe, where every city had bespoke tailors, milliners, cordwainers, and glovemakers. Many of those Old World operations have moved on to ready-to-wear or simply disappeared in the 20th century, but Vienna seems to have kept much of these traditions alive, especially in shoemaking. In that trade alone, there’s Balint, Materna, Maftei, and Elfie Riedl, just to name a few. Some of these firms are said to be able to turn around a trial shoe within twenty-four hours, which makes stopover visits especially appealing.
The shadow of punk rock has eclipsed countless new dawns under its fundamental negativity and its lazy equation of rejection with action.