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The New Don of Custom Footwear: Don Ville's Handcrafted Shoes

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What is it that custom shoemaker Don Ville is doing so right they're slammed with customers, costumers and VIPs wanting their $275 and up -- way, way, up -- shoes?

They're making unusual, super high quality pieces of art by hand. They've got the equivalent of Santa's workshop, for leather lovers -- it's full of gorgeous, hand-selected exotic and sumptuous skins. They make shoes that are designed to exactly fit your foot, feel great, and last almost forever. That, and proprietor Raul Ojeda is one hell of a salesman.

Ojeda just opened the Don Ville showroom on the trendy stretch of La Brea -- they're a stone's throw from American Rag, Feal More, Stussy, etc. You are not going to confuse the showroom with a Christian Louboutin boutique: it's simple, understated and airy, with just a few example of their handiwork, arranged like art throughout the sitting room. Most of the shoes on display are iterations of the classics: a few pairs of oxfords, perfectly distressed riding boots, 1920s style pumps. What stood out to us the most were the two pairs of oxfords in a metallic patent leather. One pair is electric turquoise, the other is more of an earthy olive. We're smitten.

Don Ville offers three levels of product: the store is soon to debut a Ready to Wear line -- serving as the "gateway drug" to the higher-end, most customized options. The line includes standards, like oxfords, sandals and boots, and prices will start at $275.

The next rung up the ladder is Made to Measure, which is basically taking an existing pair of RTWs and making custom tweaks to the fit and details. Base price is $550 -- starting price for the service is $275, plus the purchase of a pair of shoes.

The ultimate Don Ville experience is Bespoke. Not only are you basically going in and saying, "I want this leather, heels of this height, a maryjane body, and this color" but you also get all the Don Ville shoe science and service. They measure your foot, analyze your walking patterns and lifestyle, and then a few weeks later, you go home with a shoe that looks hot and feels like angels kissing your feet. Prices for this ultra-luxurious and comprehensive service start at (brace yourselves) $2,400. But it's like buying insurance that you'll never run into someone who's wearing the same pair of shoes as you. And much, much more. Don Ville is open Monday through Saturday, 11am to 7pm, and Sunday, noon to 6pm. Appointments are highly recommended.
· Don Ville [Official Site]