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PARIS — With prices starting at around $4,000 for a pair of his bespoke brogues, Pierre Corthay is the shoemaker of choice for well-heeled men drawn to the craft of cobbling.

This story first appeared in the May 5, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Now, Corthay’s label is polishing up its operation with the help of a new partner, Xavier de Royere, who’s a seasoned LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton executive, as well as new financial backers.

Together they plan to broaden the 20-year-old shoe label’s ready-to-wear range, and expand the retail reach worldwide.

“We are about the original craft of shoemaking and the authentic way of selling shoes. It is not a marketing gimmick, it’s the DNA of the brand,” said Corthay, who in 2008 was named “Maitre d’Art,” a rare distinction that recognizes exceptional craftsmen in France.

Indeed, with apron-bedecked “shapers,” “leather cutters” and “mold makers” greeting clients, taking measurements or hammering away in a back room, Corthay is putting the soul back into the art of shoemaking.

Tucked behind the Place Vendôme at 1 Rue Volney, the label expects to open two additional workshop-like boutiques this year, in London and Paris, and stores will follow in Dubai, Qatar, China, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea by 2012.

“There is tremendous demand for authenticity, and products which guarantee quality standards,” said De Royere, who added the label is also sold at Lane Crawford in Hong Kong and Leffot in New York.

Pierre Corthay’s rtw retails at around 850 euros, or $1,100. The range can be personalized with varying colors, inner soles, piping and eyelets, among other things.

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