We are so over-the-moon thrilled to announce our latest pre-order collection: Harlemology by Dandy Wellington!
Dandy Wellington is a bandleader, entertainer, event producer, and creative consultant, born-and-raised in Harlem, New York. He is also a longtime friend of ours at American Duchess. It has been a dream to work in collaboration with him on two beautiful shoe designs, the Dandy/Gladys Oxfords and Noble Oxfords/Rainey Boots.
Dandy’s collection encapsulates his energy as a jazz performer, his personal style, and all of the inspiration that has helped to shape who he is today.
Harlemology by Dandy Wellington is a sartorial love letter to the style, history and people of Harlem. Inspired by early 20th century silhouettes seen on the streets and brownstone stoops of Sugar Hill, this collection seeks to uplift the architects of the neighborhood’s past and highlight many of the custodians of its cultural present.
Dandy & Gladys Cap-Toe Oxfords
The beautiful cap-toe Oxford style in this collection comes in both ‘men’s’ and ‘women’s’ size bands. The ‘men’s’ size band is named Dandy, after Dandy Wellington, of course! Dandy is a seriously talented musician, and his vintage-inspired style is simply top-notch. Dandy’s eye for sartorial detail is unmatched. These Oxfords are a tribute to Dandy’s signature style and panache.
The ‘women’s’ size band for our Oxford style is named Gladys. Inspired by gender-bending pianist and vocalist Gladys Bentley, the ‘Gladys’ Oxfords are a sartorial work of art that would be at home in her wardrobe. Bentley, who was openly gay, had a decades long recording career and often performed in traditionally men’s attire all over Harlem.
These photos exemplify Ms. Bentley’s signature style!
Dandy/Gladys have stunning smooth leather and nubuck uppers, cap toes, heel quarters, a stacked-look heel with a rubber heel lift, and leather soles. Dandy/Gladys has an Edwardian/early 1920s reproduction last, which is true to size and meant for a close, tapered fit. Dandy/Gladys comes in *SIX* beautiful colorways: black/black, blue/white, sage/buff, oxblood/oxblood, brown/cognac, and black/white.
Noble & Rainey Boots
In addition, we have a brand-new boot. The Harlemology boots comes in two size lines, ‘women’s’ in B-width and ‘men’s’ in D-width. The ‘women’s’ size band is named Rainey, and the ‘men’s’ is named Noble. These leather lace-up boots are made in calfskin leather, and are accurate to the 1890s all the way through the 1960s.
Strong and sleek, The Noble salutes its namesake Noble Sissle. A composer, bandleader and playwright, he got his start with James Reese Europe’s New York 369th Infantry “Hell Fighters” Regiment, an all African-American outfit during WWI.
Rainey is dedicated to the “Mother of the Blues”, vocalist and bandleader Ma Rainey, a queer trailblazer who performed all over America influencing the likes of Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith. Her extravagant style and deep gravelly voice earned her a recording contract with Paramount where she recorded 94 titles.
Designed from an original boot in the AD collection, the almond-shaped toe on Noble/Rainey has more of an offset-curve shape than, say, an Edwardian heeled oxford like Londoner, which makes for a particularly comfortable fit. The leather is super soft and backed with cotton twill, which means these boots will break in very quickly. Noble/Rainey comes in forest green, cordovan, black, French blue and the deepest purple.
As with our previous mens/womens collections, there is crossover in the size ranges. Check out the size conversion charts!
We would be remissed if we didn’t take one last chance to express our thanks to our friend Dandy Wellington for being an incredible collaborator on these designs. We are so grateful to be bringing his sartorial visions to life with the Harlemology Collection!
A huge ‘thank you’ is also going out to the amazing Miss Tammi Savoy, who posed alongside Dandy for our lifestyle photos for Harlemology, and the super talented Rose Callahan, the photographer extraordinaire who captured these images!
The Harlemology pre-order is on from December 28, 2022-January 13, 2023. Through January 13, Dandy/Gladys and Noble/Rainey will be $20/€20 off each pair in our US and EU stores! Additionally, there will be no cap on sizes or colors through the two-week pre-order. Now all you have to decide is which ones to get!