Hole in the Wall

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>> I've been trying to use up my extra time in New York fruitfully, other than staring at my screen refreshing the Guardian travel update pages (the best accumulation of information in light of the situation me thinks?).  I did say I'd take my pick-me-up chambray espadrille shoes to get them pumped up in the platform and so off I went, upon the recommendation of Six Sick Sick's Tiffany, to the East Village Shoe Repair.  A rather maltreated Barney doll indicates that you've arrived.  I wonder if anyone has ever tried to make off with it…

Everyone is familiar with Boris from this teensy hole in the wall on St. Marks Place but I was greeted by Eugene, the other half of this joint who said it wasn't a problem to heighten my shoes.  I promptly snooped around the tiny den with walls covered with deadstock beaten-up Converse as well as customisation options.  

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Eugene let me have a flick through their album of pics of happy customers wearing many examples of Boris and Eugene's speciality raised platform shoes, mostly on trainers.  Buffalo and other underground shoe purveyors probably couldn't provide some of the extreme heights that they can… 

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In a fashion context, EVSR's latest commissions can be seen in this V Mag editorial (from V64: shot by Josh Olins, styled by Claire Richardson) with these super high Reebok and Adidas shoes.  They're credited as "customised by stylist" but obviously Claire and her team didn't manually layer up matching soles to make these platform trainers and Boris/Eugene confirmed that these were their handiwork.  As I went to collect my shoes, they had a pair of super high creeper boots that were being prepped for Vogue L'Uomo and they said on average they do 20+ commissions a year for mags like Vogue, V, Nylon etc…

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And so the mind boggles.  I gave them a relatively easy task adding a teensy smidgen of a platform to these summer shoes (I will finish them off by adding straw raffia trim to cover up the platform…).  Given that I have a distinct love of raised flat-level platforms, the sort seen on my creepers, my Swear x Cassetta Playa shoes and that I love that chunky height that also happens to be insanely comfortable,I then realised that I'll probably need to start accumulating shoe customisation ideas and lugging them over to New York once or twice a year.  Next time round, they won't be let off so easily though… higher, more complex and perhaps something involving different layers of materials in the platform?  Floral in resin worked into the platform?  Shearling heels?  The gathering of base materials and ideas begins now… watch out Boris and Eugene…

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**EDIT** In a late night post-Flushing-food-fuzz (come on London….we NEEEEEED a place like the Golden Mall…), I forgot to assert one point which is that characters like Boris and Eugene are diminishing in cities… that encounters in grimy holes where they gesture to their faded albums with shoe polish fingers are few and far between… I maybe over-romanticising but I did feel ever so slightly enrichened by a visit to this particular shoe repair joint…

24 Replies to “Hole in the Wall”

  1. Wow, this is so cool! I’m tempted to find a suitable pair to heighten, or at least to sort out a few overworn soles. I’m starting to get into the Creeper style too and this is the perfect way to ease myself into the look.

  2. so glad you went there! i’ve been living here 5/6 years and still haven’t managed to bring a pair in although i first heard about boris 10 years ago by my friend who would get club kid shoes made there. i have some ideas so hopefully i get something done soon 🙂

  3. that’s so neat! yours look just about as I high as I could ever handle haha..I admire height – be it heel or platform – from afar for the most part…Also, I’m loving the reeboks as well as those pants. awesome indeed 🙂

  4. They turned out great! And will be even better when you add the rafia. May I suggest E6000 jewelry glue, much better than shoe glue in my opinion. I have a great shoe repair place down the street from my house, it’s an older couple who owns/runs it, and the man has a long beard and wears a leather vest. Love that place. Those are the places that do the best work!

  5. what is the material they use to add height? or are their options? I’ve been searching for a pair of uber high wedges that I love but am finding nothing. maybe this could be the answer

  6. These pictures are beautiful. This store is a perfect example of why we DON’T need gentrification. How much would it cost to get the really high platforms, do you think?

  7. Off topic, but so glad you went to Flushing (my hometown). We really do have some of the best and diverse Chinese food. I was about to recommend Oriental City in North London for it’s great food court. I used to go there frequently when I studied abroad in London, but it has since closed 🙁 But according to Wikipedia, there’s a similar shopping center called Pacific Plaza.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oriental_City

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