Berluti Gets a Madison Avenue Maison-------
“Madison Avenue has always been a dream from the beginning,” Alessandro Sartori, Berluti’s artistic director, said of the brand’s new, two-story, 3,200-square-foot home (the first was farther up the street, but with a decidedly less expansive product selection). Berluti, the French heritage brand most known for its luxury shoes, is fast becoming a market leader in fine, tailor-made ready-to-wear and bespoke men’s clothing with the help of Sartori and chief executive Antoine Arnault.
“We have dedicated the bespoke collection to all of our maisons, with some variation for the New York one, in terms of fabrics and colors,” Sartori offered (limited-edition leather and patina roller bags are also sold exclusively in the New York location). “Otherwise, what we do for the show is what you see in the store,” he said, stressing that quality is always key.
Berluti only recently began showing complete ready-to-wear collections in Paris—a move that helps showcase Sartori’s skills (he was formerly creative director of Z Zegna). And his collections clearly convey his obsessive love of craft. “Everything we do is in-house. I’ll go directly with a sketch to one of our tailors, who then cuts the garment…and there is a long discussion,” he explained. “The design is what I like, but the way to construct it is coming from this strong collaboration with our Paris ateliers, who give us advice.”
The brand has two ateliers in Paris, one for sportswear and the other for shoes, seventeen laboratories for prêt-a-porter in Italy, and another two laboratories for their bespoke line in Paris. Wares from the bespoke range, to which the entire second floor of the Madison Avenue store is devoted, require frequent visits from Berluti’s master tailors in Paris, who spend approximately 70-72 hours piecing together a single suit by hand.
As for the aesthetic of new store, Sartori worked with the French architect and “friend of the house” Gwenaël Nicolas to design an interior where craft and style are reflected in the space. The boutique is replete with Venetian woods, art nouveau porcelains, leather paneling, and Louis XV replica chairs. “We wanted to build something much more similar to a personal home,” Sartori said. “After all, Berluti is a conversation.”
The store is the perfect meeting ground for Berluti aficionados. “He’s very stylish and he likes a lot of details,” Sartori said of his prime customer. “There is something artistic in his way that’s rather emotional, and he has his own take—even on something as simple as color, a knot, or a bow tie. He’s a modern man who’s not fashionable or classic, but cool and masculine in attitude.”
Berluti is located at 677-679 Madison Avenue, New York, NY