Below are some “musings” that this author had penned a few years ago, and recently came upon, in reference to the shoemaker Berluti:
“Why is it that women can get away with pining over a meticulously hand-selected and hand-finished piece of artisan craftsmanship to envelop their pretty little feet, but not men?
Well one reason is that on the whole, cobblers and shoe makers have a nasty habit of creating prettier things for the “fairer” sex. Enter into your vocabulary the world B-E-R-L-U-T-I.
A Parisian brand of Italian descent, and name, as any Frenchman will surely point out; Berluti stands at the pinnacle of shoe and boot manufacturing for men, as well as the production of extremely limited quantities of leather goods which compliment their exotic footwear. Known for its unique leather finishing, any man that approaches you wearing a pair of these hard to come by ‘little treasures’ will immediately have your attention.
For people in the know, the style, leathers as well as sole patterns of Berluti footwear make them stand out, even from the finest competitors. While other brands such as Gucci, Ferragamo, and Hermes turn out exceptional footwear, there is something comforting, literally and figuratively, about a company that makes its mark creating one primary product, and creating it in a way that trumps all others.
Sure the price tag might be a little hefty, but with the polishing and finishing services that Berluti boutiques provide for the lifetime of your purchase, these shoes will be passed down to your first, second, or even third born son, assuming his feet don’t outgrow yours.”
A few short years on, all of this continues to hold true, with the possible exception of the line regarding Berluti as making “one primary product.” A nice segue into the introduction of the new Berluti Store, or “Maison,” recently opened some blocks south of their former home on Madison Avenue, and interestingly much closer to some of their “rival” brands.
With the hiring of Alessandro Sartori, formerly in charge of the Z Zegna line, Berluti dove into the world of ready-to-wear feet first (pun only somewhat intended here). The new store is a showcase to this slight change in direction, featuring multiple floors, one of which has a dedicated area to bespoke tailoring and shoemaking, while at the same time holding true to the Berluti credo and methodology. Think gentleman’s club meets old world haberdashery, with maybe even a library feel thrown in for good measure.
The new Berluti home features the ready-to-wear line, as well as overcoats, blazers, and a line of their now famous(ly) unique leather goods. One might even refer to the establishment as a kind of “candy store for dandies.”
One thing does stay the same however, the exclusive feel of the products and most certainly the price tag. These surely are one-off pieces that you are perusing, and priced accordingly. But perhaps that is why the word “aspiration” is the basis for the idea of aspirational.
The new store is open now:
677 Madison Avenue
New York, NY