Berluti FW2014/15 collection looks to the architecture of Scandinavia and its organic construction materials to bring a sharp-edged modernity and textural warmth to its new collection. The shapes are bolder and the details are more functional but only where it serves the cause of human comfort. Classic craft confronts new technology in the form of innovative fabrics that are worked and finished by human hand using techniques usually reserved for traditional textiles. Such care is taken in their construction that the outerwear pieces in this collection require 60 or 70 hours of meticulous handcrafting in the Berluti ateliers.
Among the luxurious textiles are a triple cashmere backed with a technical membrane and, beneath that, a coloured cashmere jersey, which together serve to reinforce and protect the outer material while giving it a generous fluidity of movement and a weight that dispenses with any need for linings; a pure angora in a large herringbone Jacquard; pure alpaca; precious vicuña; a four-ply Japanese mohair; soft, supple nubuck; and a beautifully dense, matt shearling.
The collection is structured around two scales of proportion. Pieces are either narrow, clean, sharp and tailored close to the body, or, on coats and overcoats, oversized and boxy. The narrow-cut jackets feature an important innovation that allows the arm to move with greater ease: a 5mm intarsio pleat which sits beneath a discreet groove running between the sleeve head and shoulder seam.
Other style details are likewise dictated by their functionality. All jackets including Berluti’s signature three-piece suit feature diagonal-cut pocket openings taken from the pea coat, as these are easier to access than the traditional horizontal pocket and bring the ease of a sportswear garment to more formal tailoring. Some coats are cut with a manica a martello, where the sleeve extends up to the collar, enabling greater movement and also creating a sportier silhouette. Lapels feature a wide peak and are connected to the collar with a single stitch, so that when the collar is pulled up for warmth, the lapel rises with it for extra protection from the elements.
A key piece this season is the oversized overcoat in double-faced cashmere Melton.Cut generously wide and loose, it has no buttons, closed instead by a tied belt. Another important piece is the multi-pocket technical gilet in quilted cashmere - a warm, protective garment that occurs throughout the collection. Knitwear is made using six-, eight- and ten-ply cashmere; the ten-ply gives jumpers a rich, 3D texture with a light weight. Colours are inspired by the pine used in Nordic construction, both raw and painted: camel, vicuña, ultraviolet, opal blue, snow white, matt black and two varieties of red: vermillion and Saint-Emillion, which are emblematic of the Berluti palette.
A distinguishing feature of the collection is the padstitch motif. Padstitching is a tailoring technique used in the internal construction of tailored jackets. On the lapels, these stitches run in alternating vertical diagonals to create a herringbone pattern. They are sewn by hand to the canvas within the jacket and are never meant to be seen. But for this collection, the pad stitch has been brought out onto the surface to become a decorative finish that creates a unique texture, bringing traditional tailoring and the warm touch of the human hand to innovative fabrics. Pad stitches are hand-sewn onto evening suits made in pure Japanese mohair, and onto bags. The padstitch pattern has also inspired the herringbone Jacquard which features on shirts, sweaters and ties.
The shoes this season an evolution of Berluti’s Brunico, a contemporary take on a hardy ski boot originally designed for Greta Garbo in 1938. Made by hand with Norwegian construction, it features a patch that covers the 14 D-ring lacing. There is also a city boot designed to be worn with a suit and Berluti’s famous bottier shoe styles.
Leather goods include a handmade briefcase and carry bags, whose metal details such as buckles and D rings are taken from Berluti belts. This season, Berluti’s iconic multi-zip Deux Jours and Trois Nuits bags are available in shearling or a waxed cashmere/leather blend, and in deerskin. Gloves and handmade umbrellas complete the accessories.