After more than 120 years in business, Berluti’s reputation for exceptionally crafted footwear and menswear is well-earned. But the man who started it all with a single pair of shoes back in 1895, Alessandro Berluti, wasn’t trained as a cobbler; he was a cabinetmaker. Turns out the same tenants that informed his earlier work—an appreciation for both form and function, and a skillful handling of proportion and materials—also applied to the creation of truly luxurious bespoke shoes. Since he made that first pair, a lot has changed. Berluti is now under the umbrella of luxury giant LVMH, it serves up ready-to-wear options alongside its bespoke offering, and leather jackets and sumptuous knits complement the footwear that’s long been a hallmark of the house.
So, why this little trip down memory lane? Because this summer, Berluti brings it full circle—in a sense. The company has teamed up with a fellow French outfit, Tectona, a maker of high-end outdoor furniture, on a beach chair and a daybed from Tectona’s beloved Copacabana line that exemplify the spirit of luxurious summer lounging. Sure, it’s not cabinetry, but in the melding of super-durable teakwood, top-notch leather, and Berluti’s highly recognizable Scritto motif, you can’t help but get a sense that Alessandro himself would have approved of this particular collaboration.
Then there’s the patina. In the 1980s, Berluti shook up the world of dress shoes by introducing richly hued, hand-patinated shoes that ditched the standard black and brown of business attire and instead offered up a whole range of nuanced colors evoking, even when new, the unique wear patterns of well-loved boots and shoes. It’s since become a signature of the maison. Tectona, for its part, works extensively with teak, an extremely weather-resistant tropical hardwood that develops its own unique patina over time as it’s battered—but never beaten—by the elements. The method and medium may vary, but there’s a connective tissue there that makes the pairing of the two companies feel utterly natural.
That connection is deepened by a commitment to luxury (something driven all the way home by the setting for the collection’s unveiling, the Martinez beach club in Cannes, where models milled about amongst the furniture while dressed to the nines). Berluti’s wares will cost you a pretty penny, as will Tectona’s. But instead of selling you hype, they’re selling you something truly built to last. Treat your Alessandro lace-ups right, and they’ll stick around for a lifetime. And even if you leave one of Tectona’s chairs out in a hurricane (maybe tie it down first), it’ll still be sturdy and standing once the sky clears.
These are investments, and the prices—€3,500 for the daybed, and €1,500 for the beach chair, which come in limited editions of 23 and 60, respectively—reflect that. But if you’re in the market for something that’ll help you live the (very) high life this summer and many summers beyond that, it’s an investment that’ll pay off quite nicely.
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