Skip to main content

Behind The Brand: Berluti

There are two types of footwear whose brand names become nouns.

There are those that are name-checked in rap lyrics (see "My Adidas") and those whose craftsmanship is nonpareil (see My Berluti). Berluti's workmanship is painstaking, but it is the patina of the leathers that have made the brand into something of a cult.

Long before the brand was purchased in 1993 by LVMH and entrusted to its current artistic director Mr Alessandro Sartori, there was the Swann Club - an occasional dinner for the Parisian shoemaker's best customers. At these get-togethers, devotees would polish their footwear with Venetian linen dipped in Dom Pérignon champagne under the light of a quarter moon.

Sadly the Swann Club - an invitation-only affair named after the gadabout protagonist of Mr Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past - is no more. But at Berluti, the strict traditions remain, at the behest of the maison's grande dame Ms Olga Berluti. "The alcohol makes [leather] shine, but it must be chilled; it must be a very dry, a grand champagne," Ms Berluti has said. Alcohol removes excess wax; the dryness is crucial because "sugar will make shoes dirty" and "the low temperature fixes the wax on your shoes".  It is only with Venetian linen that "absolute purity of the cloth can be guaranteed". As for the moonshine? "The moon gives transparency to leather. The sun burns; the moon burnishes."

Well it's a good story at least - and one we suspect that is told with a digestif of flim-flam. Hyperbole aside, Berluti's clientele over the years have included President John F Kennedy as well as Messrs Andy Warhol, Frank Sinatra and Robert De Niro.

 Now, for the first time, MR PORTER is able to offer Berluti's ready-to-wear shoes. To mark Berluti's debut, we asked Mr Alessandro Sartori, the man entrusted with bringing the brand into the future while remaining true to its past, to talk us through what makes a pair of Berluti shoes special.

But before you watch the film, it is only right that we ask you to pour yourself a glass of Dom Pérignon and clutch your shoe rag of fine Venetian linen...

Visit the page on Mr. Porter, watch the video... say "ahh!"  - Rachel Bernard

 Film by Mr Aaron Christian, Video Style Editor, MR PORTER
 Words by Mr Dan Rookwood, US Editor, MR PORTER

Popular posts from this blog

Taking Tips From a Younger Generation

Phyllis Korkki, an assignment editor at The New York Times, visited the garment district in Manhattan to interview designers as part of a story for the newspaper’s Snapchat account. Credit George Etheredge/The New York Times
What Could I Possibly Learn From A Mentor Half My Age? Plenty.

How on earth did I become an “older worker?”

It was only a few years ago, it seems, that I set out to climb the ladder in my chosen field. That field happens to be journalism, but it shares many attributes with countless other workplaces. For instance, back when I was one of the youngest people in the room, I was helped by experienced elders who taught me the ropes.

Now, shockingly, I’m one of the elders. And I’ve watched my industry undergo significant change. That’s why I recently went searching for a young mentor — yes, a younger colleague to mentor me.

Discounts, Discovery & Delight: 3Ds for Retail Success

In fashion and retail, Dopamine is the drug of choice. Technically, Dopamine is the neurotransmitter of “desire.” Dopamine leaps across synapses in our brain to control our reward and pleasure centers. It enables craving. It induces repeat behaviors. It makes us want more. Therefore, it is in our best interest to create products and experiences which induce the release of dopamine in our consumers. We could use some dopamine for ourselves, too. In our fashion and retail world, there are three primary stimuli, "3Ds," we can control to deliver hits of dopamine: Discounts, Discovery and Delight.

Beware of Wombats & Other Vampires

You are surrounded by dangerous WOMBATS. They’re everywhere. Sometimes they hide in plain sight, easy to spot. Other times they are well camouflaged, requiring heightened awareness to identify them. You need to stay alert, it’s important to avoid them. WOMBATs resemble ordinary, productive tasks. However, they are vampires for time and resources, weapons of mass distraction.WOMBATs are seductive. Working on a WOMBAT feels productive.WOMBATs are bad for your career.WOMBATs are bad for your business.WOMBATs infiltrate your work day (and your personal time). Strike them down.WOMBATs may be be ingrained in your company culture: “We’ve always done it that way…” WOMBAT Metamorphosis Alert: A task or project that wasproductive in the pastcanevolve into a WOMBAT in today's environment.Your comfort zone is populated with WOMBATs.More on comfort zones, here.Some people are WOMBATs in disguise. Stay away from them, they are vampire WOMBATs.If you don’t control your WOMBATs, your WOMBATs will…