Berluti Celebrates 120 Years with Andy and Alessio
Berluti presents the reworked Alessandro shoe, the Alessio, and the new Andy loafer.
More than anything else, the Parisian house – Berluti – loves shoes. For over a century, it has designed and created multi-faceted shoes that can be worn with the most formal suits or the most subversive pair of jeans. There is a Berluti shoe for each man at every stage or occasion in his life.
At the heart of each Berluti shoe is one absolute requirement that its boot makers have passed down from generation to generation – feet should never hurt. It is an elegant yet complex statement, one that demands last makers, pattern makers, cutters, stitchers and no less than 250 operations, or “as many as for the construction of a cathedral,” as brand head Olga Berluti likes to say, to achieve.
It is perhaps this rich heritage and craftsmanship that has prompted popes and princes to don a pair of Berluti shoes at one point or another. Today, customers across the globe discover creations that epitomise the spirit of the Maison – a distinctive combination of boldness, imagination and classicism in everything from the patina of the leathers to the hang of the fabrics and deftness of the cut.
It is, therefore, a fitting nod to the heritage of the house in the year that it celebrates its 120th anniversary by revisiting iconic designs with the Alessio and Andy.
In 1895, Berluti’s founder, Alessandro Berluti, set out to defy the conventions of his time and invent his own unique signature. He created a seamless laced shoe made from a single piece of leather, which has since become an emblematic model – the Alessandro. Through its pure, natural shape and balanced volumes, the three-eyelet shoe brings together the quintessence of the House – elegance, culture, and wit.
The Alessio is a casual reworking of the iconic Alessandro design. The upper part of the shoe is cut from a single piece of leather without any panels, seams or inserts. This technical feat creates a flowing design with simple lines and muted patinated hues of tobacco, Rothko blue and vermilion. The distinct feature of the Alessio lies in its sole, which sees a supple high-tech material borrowed from the world of sports equipment and manufacturers in an interplay of quirky stripes of colours replacing the traditional leather sole. The tobacco patina is complemented with brick-coloured soles, the Rothko patina with green, and the vermillion patina with blue.
The Andy Loafer
In 1962, Olga Berluti designed and created moccasins for Andy Warhol with leather from the hide of a defiant cow that liked rubbing against barbed wire. The resultant pair featured a broad scar across the upper of one of the two shoes. Warhol was bowled over by this surreal attitude and declared that he only wanted shoes made from the hides of defiant hides from then on. The Andy loafer was avant-garde in 1962 and looks completely contemporary today and remains a symbol of the brand’s visionary creativity.
Paying tribute to the Andy loafer, Berluti has launched the Variations Collection, comprising of six Venezia leather loafers with straps and aprons that are scarified, incised, and edge-stitched. Additionally, Berluti has released the Andy masque, which features a domino mask on the instep that stretches to embrace the foot right down to the sole – a stylistic and technical feat few has successfully mastered.
Text by Patrick Chew