A Centuries-Old Tradition Gives This Boot Unique Charm
The Macquarie boot is defined by a narrow, round toe and flat heel that create an elegant silhouette, suitable for both men and women. Gretel Sneath explores how a centuries-old technique of hand burnishing gives this versatile stable favourite its unique charm.
Handcrafted in Australia, the Burnished Macquarie boot has a touch of European charm, with the centuries-old secrets of traditional hand-burnishing passed down by an Italian master.
Duilio Girotti spent four weeks in Adelaide working alongside the highly-skilled artisans of R.M.Williams to perfect a bespoke two-tone leather finish that truly reflects such an iconic Australian brand.
“Duilio is a highly-skilled regional Italian shoemaker based just outside of Rome. We were able to take elements of his signature style and combine them with our own world-class Australian craftsmanship to develop a unique finish that brings out the richness and distinctive characteristics of the leather, and remains true to our DNA,” says Head of Footwear Development for R.M.Williams, David Cook.
One of the most popular boots in the hand-burnished collection, the Burnished Macquarie in distinctive shades of Cognac or Bordeaux, is an archive design that builds on the success of the Chinchilla, released in 2016. “While the Chinchilla is handcrafted on the classic Craftsman last with its distinct chisel toe, the Burnished Macquarie is defined by a narrow round toe and flat heel that creates an elegant silhouette suitable for both men and women, translating easily to more formal attire,” David explains. “It’s the perfect balance of versatility and rugged elegance.”
While every R.M.Williams boot passes through at least 80 sets of highly-skilled hands before it is ready to wear, additional steps are taken with burnishing to elevate an unfinished yearling hide into boots that shine with colour and light as unique as the landscape that helped to inspire them. As Master Craftsman Steve Moore explains, artistry and craftsmanship are the hallmarks of the Burnished Macquarie.
“The burnishing process involves a very specific and skilled technique requiring quite a bit of training and patience,” he says. “Watching our most experienced craftspeople applying this organic process to a piece of leather is where the magic really happens.”
Leather stain sourced from Florence is applied by hand and worked and re-worked over time to create an antiqued effect, with particular attention paid to the heel and toe areas to produce a rich patina that’s exclusive to each pair. “The tonal variations ensure that no two pairs are the same,” Steve says. “The Burnished Macquarie is a very specially handcrafted boot that will last a lifetime.”