Today, Berluti offers beautifully made clothing alongside its leather goods, but it remains best-known for its exceptional shoes, skilfully crafted from patinated leather in various hues.
In recent years and in response to wider trends in fashion, the company has expanded its catalogue of dress shoes to include more casual options such as the Alessio, a sneakerdress shoe hybrid.
However, its formal offerings, such as the Alessandro, remain bestsellers with its clientele. This season, the icon that was created by brand founder Alessandro Berluti in 1895 gets a subtle update.
There are few Oxfords that look as minimalist as the Alessandro. Its secret: It is made from a single piece of leather, and is free of stitches and extraneous adornment. Like many “simple”-looking designs, its minimalist form belies the laborious process behind it. Its construction requires the use – and skilful working – of large pieces of leather that are free of blemishes.
While the shoe industry has no shortage of patinated leather – where dye is applied so as to create contrast and shading – we think Berluti has a lock on the look. The house’s jealously guarded secret includes its use of specially tanned Venezia leather, and dyes comprising pigments and essential oils.
The Alessandro has remained largely unchanged since its creation more than 120 years ago. But even icons need occasional sprucing up, which is why the Alessandro has been given a slightly edgier look this season, with a more defined, angular toe box, as well as a row of tiny studs at the edge of its sole.