PARIS — Olga Berluti has been named creative director of the Berluti Art line, a move that reflects management’s strategy to safeguard the creative heritage at Berluti — among LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s hidden jewels — while building it into a major men’s luxury player.
This story first appeared in the September 27, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Berluti was formerly the longtime artistic director at the men’s luxury footwear specialist.
“Olga Berluti is the living memory of our house, having spent five decades devoting herself to Berluti. I am delighted that she is to remain by my side, [taking on the role] as creative director of the Berluti Art line, which will offer exclusive products to our most loyal customers,” stated Antoine Arnault, who joined Berluti as managing director at the start of 2011 after three years heading up communications at Louis Vuitton.
Berluti, a descendent of Alessandro Berluti, who founded the house in 1895, is billed as one of the only female bootmakers in the world. She’s famous for cultivating the giants of French cinema as well as the late artist Andy Warhol as her clients in her role as the brand’s artistic director.
LVMH acquired Berluti in 1993 and the brand generates an estimated 80 percent of its revenues from footwear. However, it is understood the young Arnault, son of LVMH chief Bernard Arnault, plans to build Berluti into a global player in the percolating luxury men’s business by expanding into ready-to-wear, along with more leather goods and accessories.
In June, Arnault and Pietro Beccari, Berluti’s president, introduced former Z Zegna designer Alessandro Sartori as the shoemaker’s new artistic director. The designer’s debut collection will be presented in January, with some teaser items arriving in stores in November.
Berluti counts around 40 locations worldwide, including franchised boutiques. Its business is concentrated in Western Europe, China and Japan.