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Tina Borgatta | Photo: Frank Ishman | June 5, 2014
Gordon Clune talks about his Left Shoe.
Gordon Clune grew up on a farm, worked plumbing and electrical projects at his family’s rental properties, then went on to manage production of aerospace components for Klune Industries. He’s restored vintage cars and motorcycles, and appeared in a PBS series that took him back to life as it was in the 1880s. Sounds like a guy who’d be most comfortable in jeans and steel-toed boots, right? Wrong. He’s among O.C.’s most sophisticated sartorialists (stands to reason, given his wife is the uberfashionable Elizabeth An of AnQi Bistro at South Coast Plaza), and he’s always had a thing for shoes. When he was 12, he sold a mini-bike to a shoe store worker for $50 and three pairs of Wallabies. They remained his favorite steppers—until two years ago, when he discovered The Left Shoe Company while in Helsinki. He now owns the North American license to the custom shoe brand and just opened his first shop on Melrose. Here’s the rundown on it all.
Have you also had an eye for style? I’ve always had the confidence to wear unique, personalized clothing. An old friend sent me my third-grade class photo, and I was the only one wearing an Apache tie. Let’s talk business. Why shoes? The Left Shoe Company was something that, simply put, spoke to me. I loved that I could fuse my background in technology with men’s bespoke fashion. And to tailor a shoe with high-tech precision is as good as it gets. What’s popular this summer? Bluish violet is big, along with pastels in the stitching and nubuck leather. Looking ahead to fall? Shine, shine, shine—Spatzalato or distressed shine. For colors: deep burgundy-wine, even ox blood and olive-black. Those Wallabies were your favorite shoes for a long time. What about now? An Oxford style normally called the Adam—it’s a very Boardwalk Empire look. I stylized this in three tones—chestnut Spatzalato, brown box calf and chocolate-brown suede. It became very popular, and my partner named it the Gordon ($600).