Belts, $115 each, and shoes, $375, at Mezlan
If there were Olympic medals for shoemaking, the Spanish would not be the favorites. (Italians generally bring home the gold.) But Antonio Sanchez, president and head designer of Mezlan, a men’s accessories brand handcrafted in Almansa, Spain, aims to quash that bias one wingtip, oxford, or loafer at a time. He sends his lineup of luxury leather goods to Chicago in August, when Mezlan is slated to open a 1,427-square-foot store in the 900 North Michigan Shops.
Mezlan’s shoes and belts are fashioned from some of the same materials—including crocodile, lizard, and ostrich—that bigger names such as Gucci and Prada use but are offered at lower price points. Standout styles in the Chicago location include calfskin wingtips ($335), velvet tasseled slip-ons ($285), and alligator loafers ($995). And though its focus is on high-end footwear, the store also stocks men’s hosiery (think trouser socks, not stockings), leather jackets, briefcases, and sportier shoes under the Bacco Bucci label, which is sourced from Italy.
The new shop is staffed by many veterans of the city’s old-school haberdashers, including the now-shuttered Brass Boot. “These guys know Chicago,” says Jeffrey Steinhardt, the company’s vice president of retail. With Mezlan, maybe the Spaniards can take on the Italians—and come out a nose ahead.
GO 900 N. Michigan Ave., third floor, mezlan.com
Photograph: Courtesy of vendor