Usually, following the departure of a designer, a house presents a collection from its design team, and this Berluti collection is one example. However, it is also customary in these circumstances for the team-led product to be an interim, interim strategy used pending the arrival of the next high-profile Creative Director. Not here.
The feeling within Berluti is that in the decade since its relaunch by Antoine Arnault as a designer house – under Alessandro Sartori first, then Haider Ackermann, and more recently Kris Van Assche – this great artisanal footwear brand and leather goods have matured enough to do without the marquee stand; it can be articulated independently.
It’s a happy position for this unknown team, who will be free to whisper sweet and alluring words meant to ignite the desires of the Berluti man without considering a third voice at the table. This first autonomous Berluti collection from this first era of autonomous ready-to-wear was then his first whisper among many others.
The team enlarged and imported the Scritto pattern, based on the house’s traditional pirate map calligraphy on its leather goods, in beautiful silk shorts, shirts and bombers. The semi-formal patch pocket stitching was an inspiration from the distinct design phases we’ve seen before in something very neat that echoed the Armani-to-Prada three-button raised lapel pattern of the 1990s. outgoing jackets, minimalist and luxurious workwear, a yes-please parka in laminated purple leather and sheepskin and outdoor trekking jackets, all sparked a debate for the navigator Berluti.
The real star of a shoe house’s ready-to-wear collection should actually be the shoes, but the process of a ready-to-wear presentation often inevitably subordinates this star status. Here, however, the skill inherent in Berluti’s core process shone. Those open-toe sandals at the end, in particular, were perhaps the best reason for a manicure I’ve ever seen. Berluti’s three great designers have served it well, and now here is a house ready to choose its own path, with its own feet.