The Dual Monarchy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire lasted until almost the second decade of the 20th Century as the second largest country in Europe.Its two capitals of Vienna and Budapest were alive with a sumptuous array of aristocratic elegance and creativity. Painting and music thrived, and the craftsmanship of its artisans was unparalleled. The tailors of Vienna were renowed for court livery, military uniforms, and superb civilian suiting of pristine cut and glamour. The shoemakers of Budapest were famed for the glory of their preeminently durable riding boots of glossy black and chestnut calfskin.
That empire of style all but vanished in the wake of two world wars and the rise of the Soviet Union. But in the craftsmanship has been kept alive with several small and illustrious firms, and in past several decades there has been a resurgence of the sartorial arts. Knize, the prestigious tailoring house established in 1858, is still with us and going strong; Salka Tyrolean hunting coats are still prized. And the Budapest shoemaker's craft is seeing a revival of the old tradition in several workshops in Hungary's capital.
Preeminent among these is DEMETER & HALMOS, perhaps the best-kept secret among aficionados of fine footwear the world over.