An independent view of luxury incites the Berluti collection for Autumn-Winter 2019. Confronted with the absence of historic ready-to-wear archives, artistic director Kris Van Assche approaches his first collection for the maison motivated by a sense of freedom. The lack of preordained rules and codes informs a contemporary wardrobe rooted in the privilege of choice. Presented in the gilded halls of the Opéra Garnier, where classical and experimental arts are staged under one roof, it proposes an adventurous attitude to luxury in which the rough and the noble co-exist.
The collection serves as a meta take on Berluti itself: patina, the signature colouration of the maison’s classic leather shoes is illuminated in new light. Captivated by the old marble tables at which craftsmen hand-dye the patina of shoes in Berluti’s manifattura in Ferrara, Kris Van Assche paints his collection in the multi-hued stains of their surfaces. A wealth of reds, yellows, blues and greens saturates garments in rich colour, no two the same. The dye-splattered marble is further interpreted in print on silk shirts and nylon bags structured in exotic leather.
Interpreted in tailoring, the impression of patina is evoked in calfskin and jacquard suiting, expanding the artisanal core of Berluti into a broader identity. The silhouette is defined, the shoulder stated but never too controlled. It paves the way for an exuberant approach to dress where formal tailoring feature side-by-side with trousers native to motocross. The idea of recalling one material through another further materialises in a purple leather coat stained in the image of patina, a grey shearling coat reminiscent of astrakhan, or a sweater knitted from a thousand metres of multi-coloured leather strings, which reads like yarn.
The maison’s emblematic patina shoes hand-crafted from one piece of leather – the Alessandro, after its founder, and the Andy, after Warhol – are reimagined with sculptural caps recalling the faces of diamonds. The construction amplifies the shine synonymous with the maison, a facet accentuated in another new take on the Alessandro adorned with angular metal plates. The silhouette is transferred to a white trainer executed with the same artisanal principles. A nod to Berluti’s heritage, shoehorn pendants and miniature shoetree key rings adorn the collection.