A century-old history, artisanal craftsmanship and creativity that is constantly renewed, Berluti’s bespoke shoes are the quintessence of the House. At Berluti, the client is at the heart of all they create. His unique allure, absolute comfort and vision of elegance drive the design and the creation of their infinitely customizable footwear.
Unlike the ready-to-wear or “demi-measure” shoes, which are simple adaptations of existing models, the bespoke footwear is hand-assembled and customizable from the wooden last to the choice of leather and patinas to create a unique piece according to the morphology of the client’s foot.
How it all begins The shoemaking journey begins with an encounter, a conversation between two people with a mutual passion for the craft. The master shoemaker listens to the customer’s wishes, to understand his habits and tastes, and also to share vast know-how and make suggestions on the kind of fit, the soles, the lining and patina to create a one-of-a-kind piece that suits his requirements and specifications.
Design The last maker sculpts a piece of hornbeam, a hard and dense wood, to the shape of the shoe. The wooden form, known as ‘last’ is then smoothed with great precision to match the morphology of the food, while maintaining the elegant shape of the shoe.
Production Once the last is tailored to the right fit, the pattern-cutter coats it with an adhesive canvas, on which he draws the model. The canvas is then used to recreate the design on a cardboard pattern, from which the pieces of leather are cut, with the help of a skiving knife. These cut pieces of leather are pared, assembled and sewn by a craftsman to form the ‘upper’ of the shoe.
The First Fitting The client is requested to return for a second-appointment, in which he tries on a prototype of the shoe that is made of leather, but not the final leather to evaluate the fit, the room for the foot and the style, following which the last is adjusted and perfected to produce the perfect pair of shoes.
Imagination A key aspect of Berluti’s custom-made footwear is that at every stage of the construction, craftsmen can accommodate any further personalisation as requested by the client, as long as the style continues to be in line with the identity of the House – whether it be a flowered tip on the vamp, drawings or initials or even embroideries to embellish the ‘plateau’ of a loafer.
Patina For finishing touches, the colourist applies the ‘Patina’ as selected by the client from a range of options to give the bespoke shoes their unique personality. The Berluti Patina is the House’s secret pigmentation technique and is available in a variety of shades for customers to choose from, such as Autumn Leaf, Caviar, Saint-Emilion Red, Nero Gigio and Tobacco Bis brown.
Delivery After months of work, delivery is always a moving ritual for the master shoemakers. Each pair is presented to the client in a Venezia Scritto leather box, personalised in the colours of the she’s patina and engraved with the name of the owner, as are the bespoke shoe-trees, whose colours and customised details are also chosen by the client.
Need to Know Berluti was established in Paris in 1895 and has been built by four generations of shoemakers. In 2005 fine leather goods were introduced and, in 2011, a complete clothing collection. A unique bespoke service from head to toe is now available through Berluti’s workshops in rue Marbeuf and rue de Sèvres. Berluti now has over 45 stores worldwide, and their shoemaker will be in the Gulf on the 14th and 15th of December 2019.