EXCLUSIVE: Kris Van Assche Rebuilding Berluti From the Shoes Up

PARIS — “I’m happy to finally give birth — I feel like it’s been 10 months instead of nine, so I’m way overdue,” said Kris Van Assche, greeting a visitor at the Berluti showroom just days before his debut runway show for a luxury label that is rooted in footwear.
Indeed, it’s been an unusually long gestation period for the former Dior Homme designer, whose arrival at Berluti was confirmed in April 2018. Not that he’s been idle: Van Assche presented his capsule spring collection in October, and has also shown a pre-fall collection in-house.
But having watched Kim Jones at Dior and Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton, his fellow designers within the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton empire, make splashy debuts during Paris Fashion Week: Men’s in June, followed by Hedi Slimane’s coed show for Celine in September, the 42-year-old is understandably eager to finally lay out his vision for the new-look Berluti.
That vision starts, unsurprisingly, with the footwear. Known for his mix of sharp tailoring and sophisticated sportswear, the Belgian designer has revamped Berluti’s classic Alessandro oxford shoe, made from a single piece of patinated Venezia leather, with the addition of sharp angles and gleaming silver hardware.
“If my previous work always

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Berluti Men’s Spring 2019

While fellow designers Kim Jones at Dior and Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton were making splashy runway debuts in June, Kris Van Assche was quietly unveiling his first collection for Berluti to buyers in showroom appointments.
Editors discovered the collection this week, when it was presented in a temporary glass-walled pavilion designed by Jean Prouvé, set up on the Place de la Concorde in Paris to coincide with the FIAC contemporary art fair.
Designed as a prologue to his first runway show, scheduled for January, the capsule line reflected the mix of tailoring and sportswear that has been a trademark of Van Assche’s previous work, both at Dior men’s and for his own label.
Cropped-leg suits and white shirts, some with black leather patches, rubbed shoulders with smart cashmere blousons and hoodies, including one in paper-thin red lamb leather.
Van Assche used the Scritto, an 18th-century manuscript motif that normally appears on Berluti shoes, in a variety of guises: as a graphic black print on a white T-shirt, a multicolored pattern on a black shirt, or tone-on-tone jacquard accents on a cream tuxedo.
The house’s trademark patina appeared as a blue and red colorway deployed across clothing — such as a cashmere and silk crewneck

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