A good pair of shoes marry form and function, yet we don’t often think of footwear as intimate apparel. However, for veteran SoCal designer George Esquivel, his signature Oxfords are all about human connection. This fall, he opened the Esquivel Atelier in DTLA’s Arts District to put the art of shoemaking on display. “When you watch people work with their hands, the experience is transformative,” the designer says. In a world where fashion can be disposable, this atelier is a welcome antidote. “We need to get back to seeing how things are made,” states Esquivel.
Guests can visit the showroom to experience the intricacy that goes into creating a pair of Esquivel loafers, sandals or chukkas. “It can take anywhere from eight to 40 hours,” says the designer, who has outfitted the likes of Brad Pitt, LeBron James, Emma Stone and Emily Ratajkowski. “Why not bring the custom experience to everybody?” However, you don’t need to go all the way custom to enjoy a bespoke Esquivel. He’ll do a special order bow for one of his most popular styles, the Grace mule (made to order from $785). “There’s nothing cooler than having something no one else has,” says the designer.
Elkhart boots, $1,600
The atelier, which features an open-concept kitchen where guests can sip Americanos, also offers limited-edition lifestyle collaborations curated by Esquivel, from all over the world, including a Lola James Harper candle with a subtle scent of leather. Precious-metal jewelry, small leather goods and “key pieces from friends,” like knitwear designer Ryan Roche and textile artist Gregory Parkinson, are also on display. “People can special order a cashmere blanket or custom earrings,” says Esquivel, who is committed to evolving experiential retail. “I want people to leave the atelier saying they had a beautiful time here.” By appointment only, 714.670.2200