I watched my Berluti shoes being re-patinated last week. This is a service the company offers to anyone – they recommend that you take the shoes away, wear them half a dozen times (without polishing them) and bring them back in. It enables the staff to check how the shoes are wearing – and so whether they need softening or other remedial measures – and to alter the colour if desired.

I’ve had this pair of Fil d’Ariane Evadé oxfords for around six months now, and probably worn them closer to a dozen times – as you can probably see from the ‘before shot’ above. But at least I’ve finally remembered to bring them in.

The fit is fine, so no adjustments needed there. It is the only last in the Berluti range that I find is wide enough in the joints for my foot – though fortunately the same last is also used to create the Kimono shoes and Galet boots.

As to colour, I was broadly happy with the original, classic colour of the Evadé, but I felt it could do with a little more contrast. These are not subtle shoes, after all, and bit more of the patina Berluti is famous for would be nice. So in consultation with UK manager Lorenza, we agreed to darken the toe and lower part of the shoe all round (as well as around the knots themselves) and leave the facings a little lighter.


Here you can see some of this job in action. The polish is first stripped back to the rawest state possible at this stage (third shot from the top) and then both dyes and polishes are used to achieve the variegated, transparent effect. Dyes are added first, with anything from rags to cotton buds, and polishes used as a finishing touch. With dyes it is possible to make your shoe lighter, once it has been stripped back, though only so far.

The difference between dye and polish was compared to dying your hair and using ‘blonde’ shampoo. The latter might enhance the effect, but it’s certainly not going to make you blonde.

Although staff in the West End shop describe the patina with much more prosaic language than Olga herself, there is doubtless more art than science to this process. With dyes you are actually painting a shoe, after all. Though like a watercolour, the effects are added in layers and the biggest skill is knowing which parts to leave untouched.

Shots of the finished shoes next week.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
16 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Anonymous

Hi Simon–
It’s T-time!
(re-patinaTed)
Love the story; love the photos.
Thanks.
–John Wesley

AFJ

F…… beautiful! Wish I could shine my shoes like that.

Cheers

Anonymous

Simon, does Berluti offer the service of refurbishing the soles of their shoes?

James

That’s what style is all about..

Tristram

Hello,

Great blog very informative. Can you let me know if Berluti only re-patinate their own shoes or if they will do it for other leather shoes as well?

Micheál

sureshknair

Hello,I was in London Berluti store 1st SEPT 2011 .I bought a pair of boots paid 1220 pounds, shoe and wooden holder.Wore them for 2 minutes.Got it packed in their famous shoe cover.But lost it on my way back home.It was stolen from me when I got inside a super market.A guy came dancing he caught our attention ,in seconds we lost the Berluti.We complained to the manager who refused to help us though he had the recording of the whole thing.We complained to the police but we never got the shoes. So I went back the next day and got myself a new pair paying another 1220/.This time I wore them till I left Europe.

rubicon

how much would the re-patina service and the sole refurbishment cost? i have an old pair haven’t worn in years interesting in taking them back..

Rubicon

i just dropped them in…re-patina and cleaning costed £45 and they said it would take a couple of days…as for sole refurbishment said it would be ~200 made me think they must replace the whole bottom as it takes weeks…

Ian Mackenzie

I notice my recent post regarding the poor quality of shoes and equally abysmal service I received subsequently has been removed. Is tis because you are afraid of upsetting Berluti or perhaps don’t like the truth when it doesn’t accord with your agenda? Be decent enough to reply, it’s not much to ask is it?

Mandy Overton

I need to get my husband brogues repatinated.
We bought these in Dubai a few years ago
He wore them in Rome and got caught in a downpour and had to walk through puddles.
Not sure if anything can be done to restore , he still wears them as they are so comfy , but I would like to have them looked at if you can advise where ?
We are based in Birmingham

PaulS

I can recommend Steven Skippen’s shoe shine and patination service at the London Hilton on Park Lane. His skills transformed my scuffed Gieves and Hawkes shotgun leather boots. All while I sat in a very comfortable leather chair. And for a very reasonable price.