Berluti and sport are natural partners as there is a historic precedent. In the 1920s, the famous actor and dancer Rudolf Valentino ordered a pair of bespoke ski boots from Torello Berluti. A similar request was made twenty years later by Greta Garbo. She chose the same design as Valentino, but in navy blue to match her ski pants. During this period, golf and polo players also approached Berluti to have bespoke shoes made. In the 1950s, the company produced a pair of shoes combining comfort and elegance for Jacques Godet, the founder of the magazine L’Équipe and director of the Tour de France. Drawing his inspiration from the shoes worn by cyclists, Talbinio Berluti designed a pair of sleek shoes made from waxed velvet calf.
The story continues today. Berluti is teaming up with a small manufacturer with a reputation for excellence in the cycling world. Founded in 2011 by four cycling enthusiast friends, Cycles Victoire epitomises French expertise in cycle manufacturing. Cycles Victoire, which is based in Clermont-Ferrand in an area which used to boast half a dozen cycle manufactures just a few decades ago, combines cutting-edge technology with traditional craftsmanship. The workshop only produces one-off cycles made to measure according to customer preferences and specifications. Building on this expertise, Cycles Victoire has designed a unique and exceptional cycle for Berluti. Entirely handmade in France, it teams Cycle Victoire’s know-how with Berluti’s trademark elegance. Drawing inspiration from the aesthetic of the delivery bikes used by deliverymen in the early years of the last century, this bicycle, which is fitted with a made-to-measure carrier, boasts the very latest modern features: a fillet-brazed frame; aluminium handlebar stem, handlebars, chainset and seat post; wooden wheel rims …
The partnership between Berluti and Cycles Victoire therefore brings the concept of the urban gentleman cycling around the city in style into a reality. To complement the manufacture of this bicycle, Berluti has designed a range of special accessories. A bike frame bag, a handlebar bag and bike toe-clip straps have been produced. A pair of cycling shoes has also been designed. This sports version of the Alessandro lace-up pump, a Berluti classic, features a leather strap which holds the foot firmly in place and a leather insole with a rubber insert. The cycling shoe is also made from particularly supple Vitello Amazon leather in Tobacco bis or Nero Blu colourways. These items will be available in May as special orders from Berluti stores in Paris, New York, London and Tokyo – all great cities for cycling.
To mark this joint venture, the company’s first sporting project, Berluti store window displays will be entirely cycling themed. The foundations of Berluti date back to Paris in 1895 and have been built by four generations of the Berluti family, who cultivated an exceptional know-how in the mastery of last making, a deep understanding of fine footwear and a passion for leather and patina. Berluti today is far more than a bootmaker, in 2005 fine leather goods were introduced and, in 2011, with the appointment of Artistic Director, Alessandro Sartori, a complete clothing collection.