If you haven’t heard about Berluti, the legendary men’s shoemaker, than it’s quite possible you’ve been living under the rock. Known for their unique leather finishing, Berluti is the one brand that’s not to be missed in any gentleman’s wardrobe. Or shoe stand for that matter. With their limited distribution they established a high level of exclusivity and elevated the brand to be one of the most desirable in the world. A list of their former and current clients include Robert De Niro, Andy Warhol, Gérard Depardieu, Frank Sinatra, Yves Saint Laurent, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Bryan Ferr. Definitely a list we would want to sign for.
Berluti’s Beginnings in 1895
Berluti was founded by Alessandro Berluti, an Italian shoemaker, who evolved his passion for crafting footwear by constructing carriages from wood, seats and reins in leather. In 1882 he was ready to share his skills with the world and a few years of journeying and adventure led him to Paris, where he found work with orders from a number of fellow-countrymen, experienced shoemakers with their own establishments. Quickly he gained an international clientele and finally set up his own bootmaking workshop between Opéra and the Tuileries. In the times when Art Nouveau challenged the rigid and regular patterns of architecture, Alessandro Berluti discovered his own style, and in 1895 he created an extraordinary lace-up shoe for men, using a single piece of leather with no visible stitching. The Alessandro was smooth and supple, a true dandy shoe. It was also the first shoe created under the Berluti name that is now to be considered the foundation of the Berluti style.
Berluti is now run by Olga Berluti, who first arrived at rue Marbeuf in 1959. Slowly she developed a long-lasting creative affinity that till this day fuels the very characteristics of Berluti brand. Among many groundbreaking points in the brand’s development, her collaboration with Andy Warhol led her to create an exceptional pair of loafers and brought a touch of spice to luxury, perfecting Berluti’s Venezia leather and introducing a hand-finished patina in a palette of exclusive shades.
Berluti by LVHM
Since one of the world’s leaders in luxury product sale took over Berluti, their unique craftsmanship has been presented world wide. Sticking with their tradition and exploring contemporary needs, they maintain a certain extravagance that is left to be desired. Berluti has always epitomized a certain way of life, so it’s to no surprise that in 2005 a line of leather goods was added and when artistic director Alessandro Sartori took the helm of the brand in 2012, a ready-to-wear collection followed. Although Berluti now presents a head-to-toe image, it still remains true to their origins. Offbeat classicism and technical virtuosity are still the keynotes of the brand, with its character remains intact. Berluti’s reputation owes much to the Venezia leather specially developed by and for the company. This leather is the result of years of research and its formula is a jealously guarded secret. How could it not be when shoe owners praise them to the heavens. This could as well be assigned to their formula of never compromising comfort with elegance.
They say visiting a Berluti store is a unique experience on its own. “It is more than chance that brings you into a Berluti store,” says their greeting and we support that theory. You walk into the store for one thing and one thing only – their expertise. Once you’re inside you’ll see nothing but shoes. No boxes, just shoes, as if they came straight from the Berluti workshop. Your feet are meticulously examined from every angle, only to ensure a perfect fit. The sales consultant knows exactly which models are best suited to their morphology. He’ll make the selection and guide you through your first steps, only to tie the knot – the Berluti knot.
Where to Buy Berluti
To this day Berluti maintains its exclusive status with limiting their distribution to only a few countries and a selected number of stores. In the US it can only be found at their New York and Miami stores, while in Europe it is limited to seven Berluti boutiques, along with an additional six in the Middle East and 25 in Asia. It has been a huge relief for all the die-hard Berluti fans when Mr Porter announced they’ll become an exclusive online retailer for the brand. From their selection we picked out three of the most desirable pieces from the Berluti Fall/Winter 2014 collection.