Berluti's shoes, Sartori's clothes

Updated: 2012-05-28 17:20

By Gan Tian (China Daily)

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Berluti's shoes, Sartori's clothes 

When fashion designer Alessandro Sartori meets reporters, he never starts with big talks. Instead, he leads them straight into a showroom of his creations.

"That is an old habit. They know it only after they see it, touch it, and feel it," the Italian designer says.

He did the same recently, inviting guests and reporters to take a look at his latest inventions in a boutique hotel in Sanlitun, Beijing.

Sartori takes a woolen jacket, turns the inside of the cuff of its right sleeves, and shows a small leather stripe, which he says protect the cloth from being torn apart from frequent use.

"Besides choosing the finest material, we pay a lot of attention to the details. Details of a garment are what I care the most," Sartori says. He also shows other parts of the jacket with leather stripes - inside the pockets and the reverse side of the collar.

It is Sartori's first menswear collection at Berluti, a luxurious French shoemaker since 1895, and the latter's first venture into fashion, which turned out to be a huge success. Sartori proved couture was a right step for the century-old shoemaker, which boasted A-list customers such as Isadora Duncan, the Duke of Windsor, Andy Warhol and John F. Kennedy.

When the collection was launched in France early this year, it received positive comments from the fashion bible, Women's Wear Daily, with this quote: "Sartori's collection was worn by a multigenerational cast of models in vignettes that telegraphed the Berluti lifestyle."

Rumors of Sartori's connection with Berluti started brewing at the beginning of last year. Without details, those in the fashion fraternity wondered if the fashion designer was turning into a shoe designer. There were also questions like, how could an Italian designer create French luxury shoes?

The air was made clear in mid-2010 when Sartori was appointed as artistic director of Berluti, with the shoemaker opening a menswear line.

"A man needs the finest jackets and overcoats, just like he needs a pair of the finest shoes. When I think of this, an image comes to mind. He is stylish and low-key, and pays attention to details," Sartori shares his inspiration.

He adopts many traditional Berluti's shoemaking technologies into his design. For example, when a customer gets tired of the color of a pair of shoes he bought from Berluti, he can always sent it back for a color change.

Sartori says, the same applies to Berluti fine garments. Customers can always send them back to change the colors and small parts of materials.

The collaboration between Sartori and Berluti has already attracted attention in China. Berluti has been listed as one of the 20 potential men's labels this year by GQ China, the country's most recognizable men's magazine focusing on fashion, style and culture.