John F. Kennedy, Usher, Pablo Picasso, Will Smith, Andy Warhol, Brad Pitt, and Yves Saint Laurent — what could this mélange of individuals who are scattered well over the century possibly have in common? The answer is: They had (or have) Berluti in their wardrobes. Since 1895, the Parisian shoemaker has been meeting gentlemen’s sartorial needs without fail. And recently adding another milestone to its prestige is its newly minted flagship boutique nestled in the heart of Beverly Hills.
Unveiled on 16 September, the flagship opened with an elegant soirée hosted by creative director Haider Ackermann himself. Following then-head honcho Alessandro Sartori’s move to Ermenegildo Zegna, Ackermann was named Berluti’s creative director late last year — and his inaugural collection is featured in this 1,100-square-foot space.
His streetwear-spliced design trope couldn’t be more apparent: Jewel-toned velvet evening jackets are displayed in the front window, roll-neck cashmere sweaters and leather jackets with lapels accented in forest green are unexpectedly paired, while supple leather slip-ons with customisable patinas (over 40 colours) make for a delicious sight for shoe aficionados.
Speaking of patinas — stepping into the boutique, the first thing you’ll notice is the dramatic wall lined with hundreds of bottles. These flaçons symbolise the secret tinctures used for generations to create the storied patinas of Berluti. The patina leather theme translates as a club chair and a leather rug. A vintage sofa, designed by Milanese furniture designer Luigi Caccia Dominioni, is upholstered in plush green velvet, while display fixtures are composed of slabs of onyx stone finished to mimic the patina finish of leather. It’s a world of quiet luxury and restraint; a brick-and-mortar parallel to Berluti’s house code.
Special to the boutique are made-to-order bicycles and haute leather guitar cases. Guitar straps are also available in a range of hand-stitched leather. There’s also a US$2,100 silver-plated, calfskin-covered whiskey flask, for anyone who’d like to bring home a part of the lavish boutique.
When asked about the personal significance of the flagship’s choice of location, Ackermann told WWD: “Menswear has always been a sort of accident of mine but [it] is becoming my world, and I feel really in touch with that. It’s that sense of reality and the fact that you can be whomever you want to be. They make it their own and that is the most important thing. That’s what it should be about and that’s what L.A. is about for me.”