Berluti presents its Spring 2022 collection in Paris.
Usually, following the departure of a designer, a house will present a collection by its design team—and this Berluti collection is just such a case. However it is also usual in these circumstances that the team-led product is a stopgap, interim strategy used while awaiting the arrival of the next marquee name creative director. Not here.
The feeling within Berluti is that in the decade or so since its Antoine Arnault driven relaunch as a designer house— under first Alessandro Sartori, then Haider Ackermann, and most recently Kris Van Assche—this great artisanal shoe and leather goods marque has matured enough to do without the marquee support; it can articulate itself independently.
That’s a happy position for that unknown team, who will be free to whisper sweet seductive.
Nothings designed to inflame the desires of the Berluti man without considering a third voice at the table. This first autonomous Berluti collection of this first autonomous ready-to-wear era was, then, its first whisper of many to come.
The team enlarged and imported the Scritto motif, based on the house’s traditional pirate map-ish calligraphies on its leather goods, into handsome silk shorts, shirts, and bombers. Patch-pocketed semi-formal tailoring was an inhalation of the distinct designer phases we have previously seen into something fastidiously neat that had echoes of the 1990s Armani-to-Prada three button raised revers template.
There were some comely shackets, minimalistically luxurified workwear, a yes-please parka in laminated purple leather, and some urbanely outdoorsy shearling trekking jackets—all of which you could see igniting some debate for the Berluti browser.
The real star in the ready-to-wear collection of a shoe house should in truth be the shoes, yet the process of a ready-to-wear presentation inevitably often subordinates that star status. Here, however, the talent inherent in Berluti’s core process shone through.
Those slingback open-toed sandals at the end, especially, were possibly the best reason for a manicure I have ever seen. Berluti’s three great designers have served it well, and now this is a house ready to choose its own path, on its own feet.