Brand in spotlight
- team luxe List
Getting comfortable in my oversized Andy Warhol-designed Uniqlo tee on a sweltering hot Mumbai afternoon–with warnings of a blistering heatwave–, the history of House of Berluti seems rather unionised. Sifting through the intriguing detail of their early days–a brand incepted in the mid-1890s–a striking fact about Andy Warhol, among others like The Duke of Windsor, Jean Cocteau, being their prudent customers almost settles in a feeling of association with the luxury brand–which, if one ought, to be honest, still seems like farfetched acclaim.
Brought to life by a young, passionate and astoundingly crafty Alessandro Berluti, the predominantly shoe-making label has now also branched out to section its footprint among other fashion essentials and accessories. When 30, of Italian origin, Alessandro set foot in the, then (and very much even now) fashion capital of Paris to indulge in the intricacies of shoe-making and bring his expertise to the fore. His first stitching genius, the shoe which never broke or peeked a stitch, was named after himself, Alessandro. The House later adopted his family name and thus, the House of Berluti was born in Italy and christened in France.
A deeper dive into House of Berluti’s history
While we got a quick gander at the house’s inception and establishment in the early part of this piece, if the brand’s history is of intrigue to you, take more than just a gander at this excerpt. The Alessando lace-up pumps are nothing less than a work of art, and while they’re straight-up standout pieces even in today’s fashion world, in 1895, Alessandro Berluti designed the shoe made from a single piece of leather and no visible stitching. Indicated earlier, the "Alessandro" shoe was born and the House of Berluti had its own signature style.
Even today, every single piece of the many variations of the lace-up pumps, and other Godly creations hailing from the House of Berluti, are hand-stitched, with as the brand claims, no demi-measures. Notably, as much as 50 hours of handwork is involved in bringing a Berluti shoe to life from scratch.
Dating earlier than most of our active years on the planet, the House of Berluti has some notable history from the 2000s too. Just under a decade ago, circa 2013, Berluti successfully established an international footprint with stories in Paris, Shanghai, Tokyo, London, and New York.
Maison Berluti, a lot more than just the perfect shoe
For the better part of their history, House of Berluti has held avenues that helped them venture into other prominent wardrobe finds for men. Still mainly led by their charismatic shoes, the house also brings excellent offerings among clothing, bags, wallets, and other male accessories including caps, socks, belts, ties and more.
Stemming out their shoe-making excellence to dressing men from head to toe, Maison Berluti’s Grande Mesure is an experience in itself. At the Grande Mesure stores, first introduced in 2012, every piece of clothing on the customer is made to measure, from their shirt, pocket square, jacket, and, obviously, the foot-morphing shoe.
The very personal Berluti touch
Every great shoe maker has a unique proposition that drives up their sales, for Berluti, it is their impeccable craftsmanship. But, what stations them away (and, maybe above) others, is the neat, intricate and emotional personalisations, making every Berluti product seem like your second skin. A basic personalisation tab allows you to dictate the colour, style, type, and size to build your own Berluti; the brand, however, goes way beyond basic:
Developed after years of research, first in 2003, by Olga Berluti, the tattoo inscriptions on leather were a very special addition to House of Berluti’s customisations. In 2016, with help from a Brooklyn-based tattoo designer, Scott Bellman, the brand, once again, levelled up with the turning times and incorporated new, intricate designs. A little further in the timeline, elevating their customisations to an unassailable platform, the brand introduced tailor-made tattoo customisations on the shoe.
Traditional, trademark and untarnished. There’s a masterclass on Berluti’s YouTube page on how one must polish their shoe, along with other footage of the perfect customisations; such is the detail of the brand. Hot stamping is another personalised addition birthed from passion to create something with sentimental value, and, of course, the finest leather.
The Art of
For someone who loves shoes, what better than a pair that resembles no other on earth, a pair that’s unique? The Berluti patina allows limitless liberty in variation and interpretation. Like a painter before a canvas, the colourist plays with tints, employs essential oils, juggles pigments, using a variety of tools to apply them: brushes of every size, sponges, cloths. You can, in fact, watch them being created, by the hands of master colourists, at the patina bar in Berluti stores. Of course, Berluti also offers a very wide range of patinated bags, belts and accessories, each patina being wholly handmade by the Maison’s colourists.