One step ahead

One step ahead
The Singapore boutique at Takashimaya Shopping Centre and the Lorenzo shoes.

PARIS - For more than a century, Parisian brand Berluti made a name for itself as a purveyor of luxury men's shoes.

But it did not sit back on its heels when it came time to move forward. Two years ago, it launched a full ready-to-wear collection. This month, it launched a bespoke service, Grande Mesure, in its Rue de Sevres boutique in Paris.

Unlike many other bespoke services, which focus on formalwear, such as jackets and shirts, one can make everything at Berluti's, including suits, jeans and even sportswear, says artistic director Alessandro Sartori. He sees nothing unusual about this, noting that for far too long, bespoke tailors have been concerned with making only classic suits.

He may have a point. Within two weeks of launching its service, there was such an overwhelming response that there is now a four-month-long waiting list.

"Why is it that a man can have a bespoke suit, but not bespoke chinos or a safari jacket? I think we're just filling a hole in the market," says Mr Sartori, 47.

The 118-year-old brand's bespoke service is handled by another Parisian institution, Arnys.

The tailoring house was bought over by the LVMH group last year and placed under the Berluti brand, which the group also owns.

A Berluti bespoke suit does not come cheap, costing between 7,000 euros (S$12,000) and 10,000 euros. The expensive price tag reflects the care and service from start to finish, he says.

A made-to-measure order uses a pre-existing pattern that is adjusted to the wearer's measurements, while a bespoke one is entirely handmade.

Only one tailor takes the roughly 50 body measurements, cuts the paper pattern, does the fittings and makes the garment.

At Berluti, a bespoke suit takes about three fittings and 75 hours to make. It is one of the few menswear luxury brands offering a bespoke service; others include Brioni and Tom Ford.

The Berluti bespoke service is currently available only in its Paris Rue de Sevres boutique, but will be rolled out in New York City, London, Hong Kong and Tokyo too.

The bespoke shoe service has been available in Singapore since Berluti opened its boutique in Takashimaya Shopping Centre in 2008.

There are about 46 Berluti boutiques in 13 countries, including Singapore.

As a shoe brand, its fans have included artists such as Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso, as well as designer Yves Saint Laurent.

According to a September article in The Washington Post, the brand is estimated to have had sales of about 90 million euros last year.

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