What do John E Kennedy, Aristotle Onassis, Robert De Niro and Monaco’s Prince Rainier have in common ? Besides being famous, rich and stylish— they’ve all worn handmade shoes from Bertuti.
It’s not the clothes that make the man. It’s the Berluti shoes. In 1895, carpenter and cobbler Alessandro Berluti moved from Italy to Paris and began turning out made- to-measure shoes, including a seamless, three-eyelet oxford that built his reputation.
Over the years, the business passed from male heir to male heir, and Berluti’s clientele reached the highest echelons—Rothschilds, Kennedys, popes, princes and plutocrats. Though Berluti now belongs to LVMH, Alessandro’s great-grand- daugher, Olga Berluti, is the figurehead of the brand. Her shoe elves go through 250 “operations” to make a bespoke pair. As the legend goes, this involves washing the leather in a Venetian lagoon, burying it in the snow in the Alps, and bleaching it in moonlight.
The Berluti look is a burnished patina on the leather, the result of hours of hand-rubbing the hide to release essential oils. It will cost you just shy of €5,000 to handle a pair yourself, and you can go to the New York shop for a fitting.
For the total experience, though, nothing can match visiting the original outpost near the Champs-Elysees. 26 rue Marbeuf, berluti.com