A large chandelier and fourteen foot long table dominates the space, giving Leffot more the air of a gallery than a shop. Steven Taffel had always wanted his own shop and after a twenty-year career in retail with luxury designers Botega Veneta and Prada in Los Angeles and New York, he opened Leffot with his wife Hiroko, in 2008. Steven knows how men shop, what they like and how they make decisions. He noted that there was a lack of good quality men’s shoe shops, particularly downtown. Once they had found the perfect corner location in the West Village Hiroko oversaw the design and branding of the elegant shop whilst Steven put together a group of shoes from fine European and American shoemakers. The shop was named Leffot, the backwards spelling of the family name when Steven’s grandfather immigrated to America. Hiroko designed the crest like logo incorporating the year Leffot opened, their children’s initials and represented their daughter’s love of rabbits. Steven works with shoemakers who manufacture their own shoes and can maintain meticulous standards. Leffot carries about 60 styles but also offer custom shoes, and host’s trunk shows in the spring and fall when his clients can meet the shoemakers. Since opening Leffot, other menswear accessories, including socks, shoe care products, belts, watchstraps and Jill Platner bracelets, have been added to the assortment. He is happy that he has found such great clients, customers come by for a drink and a chat, he says it can become like a club, often followed by dinner. Steven has a vast personal shoe collection, some still in boxes waiting for the right occasion. At the moment he favors the Edward Green brand, lace ups and suede. Steven’s advice to anyone thinking of opening a shop is to do something you really enjoy, give people the best service and value, and build trust with your customers.
10 Christopher Street, West Village NY