For sure, you either love them or hate them....not much middle ground. For us in the business, we always look at their designs, and are jealous of the extreme loyalty of their customers; all the while rolling our eyes in the back of our heads. Ask an Italian shoe person, and that will be the reaction. In Italy, there is a word - 'garbo', and, while difficult to translate, Berluti embodies it. Basically, it means bullshit.....but with grace - the ability to convince foreigners that they are welcome, that everyone here is available to serve them and that the most special circumstances have just occured to make your visit the highlight of their day, if not week or even month. It's a well orchestrated, and time proven, charade.
Giancarlo, the owner of our factory, got into some trouble 2 years ago as, after Berluti asked us to do some of their work, we received the instructions of production that included 45 minutes to 1 hour of hand rubbing each pair (the finish is not anything special....simply alcohol and time)....which in and of itself is not so unusual, unless you are only getting 12 euro for the finishing! GC was so insulted that he goes and writes a letter to the trade paper in Vegevano (a town of mainly shoe factories) warning anyone not to bother taking a meeting with them as they want to pay 'Ethiopia money'. Didn't go over so well....
Here is a picture of Mr. Berluti in not so opulent surroundings.