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Bespoke

Bespoke shoes

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Hand-assembled and customizable from the wooden last to the choice of leather and patinas, Berluti bespoke shoes combine absolute comfort and unique flair.    

As opposed to ready-to-wear shoes, or “demi-mesure” shoes, which are simple adaptations of existing models, bespoke shoes are created from scratch. The client is at the very center of the process, and the future shoe will be created according to the morphology of his foot.

MEASURING

At Berluti, it all starts with the first appointment, when the master shoemaker and client meet. In the store, or in the Paris workshops on Rue Marbeuf, a discussion will ensue in which the shoemaker listens, questions, and notes the wishes and habits of his client. In fact, bespoke shoemaking requires the dual input of shoemaker and client: soles, lining color, choice of shoe trees… all will be decided during this essential first meeting.

Next comes the measuring procedure. Between six and ten measurements are required to grasp the precise morphology, volume, width, and weight-bearing areas of the client’s foot.Lastly, the client will choose from the various leathers proposed. Venezia leather, of course, the emblematic leather of the House of Berluti, but also such exotic skins as alligator, python or shark.

 

LAST-MAKING AND SHAPING

The last-maker chooses hornbeam, a hard, dense wood, from which to gradually sculpt the shape of the shoe with his knife.

The last will then be smoothed with a rasp and sandpaper.

This very technical stage requires great precision in order to ensure that the wooden last respects the morphology of the foot and ensures the shoe’s shapeliness.

 

PATTERN-CUTTING, LEATHER-CUTTING AND CLOSING

The pattern-cutter begins by covering the last with an adhesive canvas on which he will draw the model. This adhesive material will then be peeled off and the model reproduced on a cardboard pattern. From this pattern the cutter will cut the pieces of leather that will form the shoe’s upper. These pieces will then be pared, assembled and stitched by a specialist craftsman.

 

TRYING THE SHOE

During a second appointment, the client will try on the prototype created from the traditionally-made last.
This is when he can judge the fit, room for the foot, and the style of the shoe. The shoemaker will note the points to be rectified in order to finely adjust the fit and offer the client a perfect pair of shoes.

 

ASSEMBLY

The various pieces are now hand-assembled on the wooden last, from this first stage to the placing of the shank, stitching to the welt, inspecting, cleaning and dressing. In total, some 30 hours of work are involved.

 

THE PATINA

The colorist now provides the final touch: the patina. The client has chosen from the infinite range of options. Created by hand and generously nourished with essential oils, they endow the shoes with a color and sheen all their own, full of life and character.

 

DELIVERY

After 6 months of work, bespoke shoes are ready to be delivered to the client. Each pair comes in a Venezia Scritto leather box customized to match the patina colors and engraved with the name of the owner.

Last-maker, pattern-maker, cutter, stitcher… the craftsmen in the bespoke workshops will have carried out over 250 operations in order to offer their client the perfect shoe, “as many operations as for building a cathedral,” as Olga Berluti likes to remind us.

BESPOKE SHOES AT A GLANCE

  • Some 50 hours of work for a pair of shoes     
  • Up to 150 hours of work for a pair of boots    
  • 12 craftsmen in the workshops    
  • 6 to 9 months to make a pair of shoes or boots    
  • A rich variety of leathers, from the traditional Venezia to exotic skins    
  • Immense possibilities for customization: tattooing, scarification, initials, patina colors   
  • A service that’s available in stores throughout the world, where master shoemakers regularly organize bespoke sessions
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