A century-old history, artisanal craftsmanship and creativity that is constantly renewed: Berluti bespoke shoes are the quintessence of the House.
How it all begins
At Berluti, the client is at the heart of all we create. His unique allure, absolute comfort and vision of elegance drive the design and the creation of our infinitely customizable footwear. Here, everything begins with an encounter. In one of the private salons of the House, in Paris or in one of the many boutiques around the world, it all starts with a conversation between two people with a mutual passion for the craft. The master shoemaker is there to listen to the customer's wishes, to understand his habits and tastes, and also to share vast know-how, to dialogue and make suggestions. The kind of fit, the soles, the linings and patina; Venezia leather or a more exotic skin; tattooing…. Every option is explored to define a unique pair of shoes. While house’s signature Venezia leather is most often selected for its splendid patinas, for custom-made items a wide array of exotic leathers is also available, including ostrich, alligator, shark, lizard or shagreen for a shoe, or for certain details on the upper. All of our rare and exotic leathers are selected with respect for the preservation of species.
Next, the measurement. Between six and ten measurements are necessary to fully understand the morphology, volume, width and weight-bearing points of the client’s foot.
The shoemaking journey
Taking a piece of hornbeam, a hard and dense wood, the last maker will gradually sculpt the shape of the shoe with his knife. The wooden form, or last, will then be smoothed with a rasp or sandpaper. This particularly technical stage requires great precision to ensure that the wooden last respects the morphology of the foot and retains the elegant shape of the shoe.
The pattern cutter begins by covering the last with an adhesive canvas on which he draws the model; he will then use the canvas to reproduce the model on a cardboard pattern. It is from this pattern that the cutter, using a skiving knife, will cut the pieces of leather that will constitute the “upper” of the shoe (the top part). These pieces of leather will then be pared, assembled and sewn by a specialist craftsman.
The first fitting
During his second appointment, the client will try on a prototype of his shoes, a provisional model made of leather but not the final leather, created from the last by the master shoemaker. This is when the last, on which the shoes will be made, can be perfected. The fit, room for the foot, and of course the style are evaluated. The shoemaker notes the points to be corrected to adjust the fit as closely as possible to the foot, in order to produce the perfect pair of shoes.
In the bespoke workshops, at every stage of the bespoke shoe’s construction, craftsmen can accommodate any desire the customer may have for personalisation, so long as it is in keeping with the identity of the House. Thus the vamp patternmaker can customise a flowered tip on the vamp: drawings or initials, the possibilities are infinite. Original embroidery may also be used to embellish the "plateau" of a loafer.
Last but not least, the colourist brings the final touch: the patina, a know-how unique to the Berluti house. The client chooses it from among endless possibilities, and this final detail gives the bespoke shoes their unique personality, the personality of the wearer.
After months of work, the bespoke shoes are ready. Delivery is always a moving ritual for the master shoemakers in the workshop: each pair is presented to the client in a Venezia Scritto leather box personalised in the colours of the shoe's patina, as are of course the bespoke shoe-trees, whose colours and customised details are also chosen by the client. Last-maker, pattern-maker, cutter, stitcher: the craftsmen in the bespoke workshops will have completed no less than 250 technical manoeuvres to create the perfect shoe for the client. “Just as many as for the construction of a cathedral”, as Olga Berluti always said.
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