The BBC has a nice ~30 minute documentary on John Lobb (of St. James in London). This isn’t the same John Lobb you may be familiar with – the ready-to-wear brand is owned by Hermes (the French giant purchased the John Lobb workshop in Paris in 1976). Although the two companies had the same start, today they’re owned by two different groups and feature very different products. John Lobb in Paris mostly sells ready-to-wear shoes, whereas John Lobb in London only offers bespoke.
The BBC takes you through the process of making bespoke shoes, as well as shows glimpses of Lobb’s archive – order books with famous names such as Hardy Aimes, as well as a magnificent room full of their bespoke lasts (some made for Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, and Prince Charles). The film admittedly feels slow at times, and I wished it covered more social history, but it’s a nice watch.
If you’re interested in British craft, you may also be interested in this hour-long special on Royal Warrant holders. At the 25 minute mark or so, you’ll see some of the clothiers who dress British royals, including John Lobb, Lock & Co., and Gieves & Hawkes. The BBC also did a wonderful multi-part series on Savile Row years ago, although full-length versions are hard to find online at the moment. My favorite segment is this clip on Colonel Blasher’s bespoke explorer suit. Menswear writer James Sherwood has more.