Berluti unveils the first elements of its Fall collection while opening the Paris Fashion Week® Menswear with a video shot last week in a vast space in the suburb of Paris. This collection has been inspired by the artwork of the Berlin-based Russian artist Lev Khesin, who works with dense layers of silicone paint, in a process that Van Assche compares to the application of the patina that produces the deep shades in Berluti’s shoes and leather goods.
The idea for the video was born out of a conversation with his friend Yoann Lemoine, the musician better known as Woodkid. “He was bringing out a new album, and I was bringing out the new collection, and we both had exactly the same problem, which is like, there’s not going to be an audience,” Van Assche recalled. Keen to avoid a standard filmed runway show, he collaborated with Lemoine as creative consultant and found himself working for the first time with a video director, Antoine Asseraf, and choreographer, Olivier Casamayou. For the show production and sound, he stuck with his usual team of Etienne Russo and Frédéric Sanchez, respectively. The concept was inspired by the restrictions enforced by the pandemic. “We start from this reality, which is social distancing, the impossibility to travel, the impossibility to even hug — even when you go to the bakery, you have these social distancing stripes on the floor,” Van Assche remarked.
Van Assche will be expanding his remit with the launch of Berluti’s first home and office collection in June, following a collaboration with specialist firms including Italian wood workshop Bottega Ghianda and Werkstätte Carl Auböck, a Viennese atelier specializing in bronzecasting, on a holiday gift collection last year. “Now we are designing pieces from scratch ourselves, so I’m very excited about it,” he said.
“A lot of people think that patina is something really traditional and almost a little old-fashioned, let’s face it. And by pulling it into those contemporary worlds, whether it’s design or to collaborate with these contemporary artists, has been a way of totally making it relevant for today,” Van Assche stated. The creative director of this Paris-based heritage house blends as no one else tradition, modernity and creation.