Although Berluti was founded way back in 1895, this collection marks the 10th anniversary of the house’s ready-to-wear project. And as noted in the last Vogue Runway review, this famous shoe house is currently turning on its heel to stride away from the designer-led mode that defined its footprint during most of this decade.
The brand’s new campaign highlights Marcello Mastroianni and Andy Warhol, two last-century Berluti clients whose images endure as archetypes of unconventional masculine style. Sprinkled amongst the pieces in this street-shot lookbook vérité were items harking back to two other cultural titans with Berluti connections. The first was the double-faced wool and cashmere artist’s jacket in made by Berluti’s tailoring atelier, Arnys, which was a direct descendent of the Forestière jacket first made for Le Corbusier to his own specifications in 1947, possibly the first-ever example of architect-appropriated workwear. The second was a new hiking boot with a rubberized half upper: the flash of yellow revealed this as Berluti’s debut collaboration with Italy’s supreme sole fabricator Vibram, while the style was a contemporary update on the first hiking book produced by Berluti, a bespoke commission from Marlene Dietrich.
Both pieces were exemplary of Berluti’s apparent new strategy to present a younger, classically-minded male audience with footwear and leather goods (plus the clothes to complement them) that are rooted in the traditionalism that the label is part of while being shaped to be contemporary. The collection took in tailoring, still generated by the atelier at Arnys, but leant heavily also on the hyper-luxurified Ivy League staples that represent menswear’s equivalent of mid-century modernism. Central to all of the looks was the tell-tale gleam of much-polished Berluti leathers, which flashed variously from zipped briefcases, ‘business’ shoes, and sneakers. By shooting this collection around Paris as if mostly worn by 2022’s generation of ambitious young men—you could envisage them as well-heeled and freshly graduated first jobbers hoping for an executive future but intent on living a few more pre share-option and partnership years unshackled by shirt and tie—Berluti delicately repositioned itself away from being an obviously ‘fashion’ brand into something more fittingly enduring.