SHOE BUSINESS: Berluti is out to prove it’s not just a man’s world. With Paris Fashion Week around the corner, the luxury men’s brand on Tuesday morning unveiled a capsule of women’s versions of a range of its iconic men’s footwear styles during a Parisian breakfast at Le Bon Marché‘s La Table restaurant.
“We call it stealing from the men,” joked Séverine Merle, the brand’s deputy executive director. “We’ve had so much demand from customers’ wives over the years, a lot of whom make regular made-to-measure orders. So we decided to do something about it.”
Available exclusively at a pop-up shop in Le Bon Marché through Oct. 8, the capsule will then enter a selection of Berluti flagships as part of the brand’s permanent collection, Merle said, adding: “They will always remain masculine in direction, there will always be this idea of stealing from the Berluti man’s wardrobe. You would never see us doing heels.”
Prices start at around 1,000 euros, or $1,118 at current exchange, for a subtly feminized take on the house’s Galet slip-on. Also on offer are tweaked versions of the Berluti Chelsea boot and classic Alessandro lace-up – made from one piece of leather secured by a single stitch at the heel – as well as a women’s take on the Andy, the pointy loafer created by Olga Berluti in the Eighties for Andy Warhol. The Un Jour briefcase from the house’s Venezia line has also been downsized for the occasion and renamed Gulliver.
Berluti is no stranger to designing for women and showcased made-to-measure archive styles created for three iconic female personalities across its history: a ski boot made for Greta Garbo in 1941, which in turn served as the inspiration for the house’s Brunico boot for men; a pair of boots made for Patti Smith in 2000, and a rock-edged black bootie made for French actress Sophie Marceau in 2003.
A bevy of hip Parisians including Camille Seydoux, Cécile Togni and Annabelle Belmondo flocked to check out the new capsule. Among them, rising French actress Karidja Touré was eyeing a take on the Oslo shoe from the current men’s collection sported by the event’s cohost, French TV presenter Alexandra Golovanoff.
Jewelry designer Charlotte Chesnais, who revealed she has collaborated with Berluti on a metal-and-leather men’s bracelet due to launch in around two weeks’ time, gave her thumbs-up. “I love to wear men’s shoes, so I’m thrilled about this. The idea of a heritage men’s shoemaker making versions for women is just perfect,” she said. “For me, it was the missing element.”