Berluti: Metamorphosis and Mode
DownloadFrom: Godfrey Deeny
The choice of location – the Grande Galerie de l’Evolution - summed up the dramatic new era at the house of Berluti almost as much as the rather marvelous clothes.
For this was a collection that was all about evolving a label from a venerable boot maker into a gentleman’s haute couture house. Its fall 2013 collection celebrated patrician innovation even as it trumpeted the brand’s unique artisanal know-how and skill sets.
Indeed, like the view from our table at the post-presentation dinner – la Caravane des Animaux – this savvy example of fashion as high-end performance art was all about raising a brand on its feet, literally in the case of Berluti, which again presented a great series of rugged dandy, beautifully burnished aged punctured shoes, Chelsea boots and – best of all - Alpine aesthete hiking boots.
Under the wily vision of Alessandro Sartori, Berluti has in just three seasons created a clever set of cool codes; a hyper-tailored, artfully finished DNA that makes the Paris-based brand’s products instantly recognizable. Sartori is in favor of the three-piece suit with a nipped Neapolitan shoulder, which is the core of his wardrobe.
Hailing from Zegna and being the son of a tailor mother, Sartori knows how to create the “perfect hand” by choosing the right fabric. But now he can unleash his fabric obsession on animal skins. To see his line-up of brushed kangaroo leather trench-coats upon entering the presentation was very impressive. Even the trench – a standard item in most gents' wardrobes – is twisted the Berluti way. Sartori showed eight of them perched on stockmen on a ghostly stairway, and thanks to their remarkably battered finish and nonchalant cut, they all whispered the brand’s look to knowing aficionados.
"We triple scratched the leather to give it the Berluti patina," explained Sartori, who took the hides to Berluti's boot leather resource in Ferrara, yet another example of this designer's meticulousness.
Guests were handed wooden flashlights encircled in lovingly tooled leather to illuminate their way through the museum, spying cavalry twill slim chic pants, window pane cashmere blousons with fur trim or khaki redingotes on stockmen with fantasy creature heads. Like a retro movie, rediscovered by a new generation.
Sartori is one of the industry’s most respected designers. He seems like a Formula One pilot feeling completely comfortable behind his new steering wheel - beating record after record; in his case bringing men’s wear into a subtle take on haute couture. His is indulgence at its best.