For Summer 2021, Berluti continues its collaborative dialogue with the Los Angeles-based ceramic artist Brian Rochefort. First presented in July 2020, his bold colours and textures epitomise the collection’s graphic character through prints, knitwear, and leather-work. The collaboration was executed entirely over video calls during the confinement period.
Berluti’s artistic director Kris Van Assche detects an evolving wardrobe culture tuned in – more than ever – to values of adaptability and essentiality: versatile garments and accessories, which at once defy and obey traditional dress codes, and echo the liberated approach to dressing of a new generational mindset. This attitude opens an instinctive door to genderless proposals: commencing this season, Berluti will offer its collections scaled in size as an answer to calls from an already-existing women’s clientele, and a nod to similar practices in the previous endeavours of Kris Van Assche’s career. Maintaining a boyish attitude, tailoring and sportswear resize to oversize, while sneakers start at size 38.
It is a gesture of adaptability reflected in the construction of garments created from a premise of essentiality: optimised new-era wardrobe staples. A suit in classic tailoring wool is executed with a sportswear hand, proposing a single-breasted saharienne-style jacket paired with a magnified trouser. Summer suits in all-leather or suede comprise of blousons, hoodies or shirts teamed with shorts cut at the thigh, while the blue and black check of a top and shorts is woven in leather. A bomber jacket is spliced from a houndstooth-patterned leather front panel and technical wool sleeves; a duality echoed in a sporty parka finessed with formal leather tapings.
Shoes embody a conversation between sport and elegance in woven leather treatments exercised in a new take on the Camden derby and boots. The technique further manifests in the graphic treatment of the white Stellar sneaker and in the Pulse, a new sneaker in black, yellow and blue woven leather, while formal slides embody a defiant take on dress codes. Similarly, bags are embellished with woven chevrons, while some carry the classic Signature Canvas logo. The heritage shoe detailing of Berluti adapts into jewellery in a brooch and a keychain adorned with the house’s trademark shoelace knot. A silver necklace with a pendant of Kris Van Assche’s first take on the Alessandro shoe is intended as a lucky charm.
Inspired by volcanoes and exotic plants, Brian Rochefort’s exuberant signature blends intuitively with the augmented natural texture and colour language of Berluti. A passionate ceramics collector, Kris Van Assche’s vision is continually informed by the textures and colours related to ceramic art. This, in turn, draws natural parallels to the patina methods practised by Berluti’s artisans in Italy.
In Brian Rochefort oeuvre – an experimental and progressive force in the ceramic arena – Kris Van Assche identifies a common thread with the sartorial dialogue between tradition and change embodied by Berluti. The properties of the artist’s work are adapted into printed silk shirts, the tactile surfaces of knitwear, and 3-D-printed bags whose textures reflect those found in Brian Rochefort’s ceramics.