It's no major revamp yet one that has refocused attention on design icons, while modernising a wardrobe peppered with Berluti symbolisms, both familiar and new.
Berluti's reworking needed time to settle before any form of collaboration could be introduced; doing the reverse could have defeated the purpose of building on a new direction. And with the brand's summer 2021 collection, Van Assche seemed ready to do just that.
American ceramist and sculptor Brian Rochefort was enlisted to be the first collaborator for Berluti under Van Assche. Taking inspiration from volcanoes, Rochefort is known for ceramic sculptures (of varying sizes) that are certainly atypical of the types one would be familiar with. They are organic in shape, often rendered in multiple colours per piece, and feature arresting combinations of textures referenced by amorphous, natural forms of lavas and reefs. And for Van Assche, they made perfect sense as prints for Berluti's summer 2021 collection.
Van Assche himself is an avid ceramics collector, and sees the parallels between the art form and the patina methods that Berluti's own artisans have perfected. As complements to the summer 2021 collection's footwear, renditions of Rochefort's works are translated into prints that are splashed across printed silk shirts, knitwear and three-dimensional printed bags. They're reminiscent of the painterly prints of summer 2020 but with added depth and structure—a welcomed evolution.
Berluti is essentially a men's brand. And while that may still remain true, Van Assche has been toying with the idea of widening the audience. It's evident in the way he's had female models walking the runways in seemingly 'genderless' creations rooted in tailoring. The summer 2021 collection officially makes a marked evolution in Berluti's offering: a scaling down of sizes to cater to an already-existing clientele of women. The ready-to-wear will adopt that boyish attitude Van Assche has now cemented as part of Berluti's aesthetic with an oversized silhouette running across tailoring and sportswear, while sneaker sizes will start from a size 38.
Just like how nature continues to evolve, so has Berluti. And its evolution has aptly started with the summer 2021 collection.
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