In style-conscious circles, much store is put by the adage “you are what you wear”. In a new book celebrating its 120th anniversary, French luxury brand Berluti plays with this notion by casting an irreverent spotlight on shoes designed for, or inspired by, 26 celebrity clients past and present.
Coming from the worlds of music, art, film and sports, the famous names featured in At Their Feet include singer-songwriter and former Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry (spotted not too long ago at a Berluti shoepolishing party in Paris), pop artist Andy Warhol, football star Hidetoshi Nakata and screen siren Greta Garbo.
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Serving as sartorial representations of their famous owners, beautiful images of shoes ranging from loafers to lace-ups – handcrafted from leathers in various hues – are featured alongside whimsical illustrations, as well as quotations and pithy anecdotes. How far does the footwear reflect the wearer? Here, we highlight three notable pairs, so you can decide.
Elegant and Edgy: Hidetoshi Nakata
On a recent trip here to launch his collaborative collection with jewellery brand Damiani, Nakata mused: “Shoes are very important. So many people wear nice suits, but they don’t wear nice shoes.” The same cannot be said for the retired football star from Japan, who is a front-row fixture at Berluti fashion shows. Green lace-ups in a patinated vibrant green, further enlivened with a motif created using Berluti’s signature leather-tattooing technique, fit in perfectly with Nakata’s brand of easy elegance.
CLASSIC COOL: BRYAN FERRY
In the 1970s, rock stars favoured flamboyant styles that did not skimp on the glitter and animal prints. And then there was Bryan Ferry. The frontman of English glam rock group Roxy Music has remained a style icon for the past four decades with his penchant for Savile Row suits. What better way to complement Ferry’s cool yet classic style than a pair of Oxfords, finished in a two-tone palette that At Their Feet author Glenn O’Brien describes as “burnished black and brown like a hollow-bodied Gibson [guitar]”?
COMFY CHIC: GRETA GARBO
“Are the feet in the shot?” This question, immortalised in the Berluti book, was frequently asked by Garbo, the Swedish silver screen legend of the 1920s and 1930s. In the earlier days of her career, Garbo favoured carpet slippers while filming – as long as they were out of the frame, of course. Along with her contemporary, Marlene Dietrich, Garbo had coolly insouciant menswear-inspired style, topped off by footwear like these sturdy ski boots, first made for her in 1938.