人物

梦想始于足下

ZbBZ (Singapore) - - IN THIS ISSUE - The Shoe Fits

伯尔鲁帝(Ber­luti) 是成立于1895年的法国经典鞋履品牌,原本以为访问的制鞋师傅上了年纪,不想让—米歇尔卡萨隆加(Jean-Michel Casa­longa)不过36岁,制鞋经验已有12年,且是该品牌最年轻的制鞋师傅。

卡萨隆加在新加坡义安城专卖店内,穿着皮革围裙,用古老的粗削刀具慢慢削出鞋楦轮廓。就是这种至美的制鞋工艺深深吸引了他,让他丢开大学物理学位,转而投向这门传统工艺。

卡萨隆加受访时说,他自小喜欢用手做东西,后来为制鞋着迷。伯尔鲁帝最年长的制鞋师傅帕特里斯洛克(Pa­trice Rock)赏识他,为他打开了这扇门。卡萨隆加从实习生开始,加入公司后,花了两年时间了解制鞋的基本工艺。第三年,他为自己制作了第一双定制鞋;第五年,开始第一次为客户制作定制鞋。

五年前开始,卡萨隆加制鞋已不需要任何人监督,倘若存疑,比如遇到长短足客户,他会请教师傅,因为“经验只能靠时间累积,无法学习”。

整个定制鞋的制作工序共有250个步骤,主要分成:测量足部尺寸,选择皮革,制作鞋楦,制模原型,制作鞋履上半部与内垫,手工缝纫合成,古法染色与抛光等等,卡萨隆加一一掌握,后来专注于制作鞋楦。他认为,这部分工艺用角树木头多于皮革,是整个制鞋过程中最具艺术性的,也很考技术,因为得顾及足部测量,却又不能牺牲鞋子的美感。

由意大利人A­lessan­dro Ber­lu­ti创办的伯尔鲁帝,在1993年为LVMH拥有,现任艺术总监A­lessan­dro Sar­tori也是意大利人。品牌鞋履有三个系列:成品(ready-to-wear)——包括A­lessan­dro绑带经典鞋、Bruni­co皮靴、Gas­pard德比鞋;特别定制(spe­cial or­ders)——在现有款式上,加入一些量身定制的细节;高级定制(be­spoke)——该品牌的灵魂。每一双定制鞋需要50小时工时,从测量尺寸到鞋履交付,客人须等待六个月,每双售价1万500新元以上。

服务永远排第一位

伯尔鲁帝位于巴黎的工作室有超过4000多双鞋楦,顾客群中有不少知识精英与明星艺人,其中为波普艺术家安迪沃荷设计的船鞋已成经典。

卡萨隆加一年有一半时间在巴黎工作室,每三个月出差一星期到十天,巡回美国迈阿密、纽约、旧金山,或香港、韩国、日本和新加坡等亚洲城市;每两个月巡回上海、北京、广州和成都等中国城市;每年他大概要制作超过百双定制鞋。

这回,他来新三四天,与客户见面,测量尺寸,选择皮革款式。本地顾客对定制鞋的要求很个人化,以舒适为主要考量,其中不少是商人,往往一种风格会定制很多双,也有一些时髦客户

对大小细节考虑周全,强调创意与设计;还有一种是足形特别,得定制,鞋子才合穿。为庆祝特别纪念日而定制鞋子的风气也很普遍。

对卡萨隆加来说,“所谓完美鞋履就是舒适与风格的完美平衡。”定制鞋的尺寸测量很关键,只有先测量客户的双足形状,才能制作出舒适的鞋子,然后加入风格元素,使个人形象更鲜明。

客人可选择不同样式的鞋子:圆头、尖形或方形;鞋底和衬里的色调;鞋身是否要刻上字母或印花作为身份辨识;缝线的式样;并决定要的是伯尔鲁帝标志性的手油威尼斯皮革或蟒蛇皮、鲨鱼皮等等。品牌的古法染色(patina)工艺为皮革赋予独一无二的明暗色调。

卡萨隆加指出,有些客户的足形不适合某一种设计,必须告之,否则穿来会痛苦。有些客户会提出一些比较特别与个人化的要求,有些则由制鞋人全权处理。他说:“对于说‘你想怎样就怎样’的客户,我并不了解他,做出来的鞋,他很有可能不穿,因为不适合他的生活方式。”

做好鞋楦后,做出样品鞋,制鞋师傅与客人会面试穿,看喜不喜欢,加以调整,才正式制作鞋履。卡萨隆加说:“定制鞋子,服务永远排第一位。服侍客户需要很多的耐性。”

如果客户穿着伯尔鲁帝鞋子来店里要求修补鞋垫或什么的,制鞋师傅和团队会很高兴。卡萨隆加说,家里如果有不止一双鞋,一天穿一双,然后让它休息一两天,那拥有几双伯尔鲁帝鞋子,就够穿一辈子了。

卡萨隆加的制鞋工具有些已有五六十年历史,在市面上找不到了,而是从跳蚤市场或年老的补鞋匠手里一点点收集累积。

制鞋这一行很难吸引新血,卡萨隆加坦承,不在奢华品牌打工,很难生存。不过他说:“定制有回流的趋势,更多人对旧世界的品质与手工艺感兴趣,不仅定制鞋子,还包括定制帽子、外套,突显个人的品味与身份。”

Icannot ex­plain why, but when I ar­ranged to meet JeanMichel Casa­longa, the maitre bot­tier of French be­spoke footwear brand Ber­luti, I ex­pected to meet some­one a lit­tle, well, older. But Casa­longa turned out to be a youth­ful 36 and while he may be the brand’s youngest mas­ter shoe­maker, he al­ready has over 12 years of shoe­mak­ing ex­pe­ri­ence tucked un­der his belt.

At Ngee Ann City’s Ber­luti store, with a tra­di­tional leather shoe­maker’s apron wrapped around him and an old rough­ing tool in hand, Casa­longa is slowly carv­ing the out­line of a shoe last. He tells ZbBz that ever since he was a child, he had al­ways loved mak­ing things, so shoe­mak­ing came nat­u­rally to him. Drawn to the beauty of the craft, he threw him­self into the busi­ness of mak­ing shoes af­ter grad­u­at­ing his physcis de­gree.

The se­nior Ber­luti mas­ter shoe­maker Pa­trice Rock took a lik­ing Casa­longa and opened the doors for him in the busi­ness. As an ap­pren­tice, Casa­longa had to spend two years learn­ing the ba­sics of shoe­mak­ing with­out hav­ing the chance to make a pair by him­self. In his third year, he fi­nally made a pair for him­self; in his fifth year, un­der Rock’s su­per­vi­sion, he made his first pair for a cus­tomer.

Casa­longa has been craft­ing in­de­pen­dently for five years now, but when he meets with chal­leng­ing de­signs, he still con­sults other mas­ter shoe­mak­ers, be­cause “you can only ac­cu­mu­late the ex­pe­ri­ence over time, not learn it”, he says.

The en­tire process of cus­tom-mak­ing a shoe in­cludes a painstak­ing 250 steps, the most im­por­tant of which are: mea­sur­ing the feet, choos­ing the leather, carv­ing the shoe last, mak­ing the model, con­struct­ing the soles and up­pers, hand-stitch­ing the shoe, hand-colour­ing, pol­ish­ing and more. As soon as he mas­tered all the other steps, he con­cen­trated on mas­ter­ing the carv­ing of the shoe last. He thinks this part of the process — with its use of horn­beam wood and not leather — is the most artis­tic and chal­leng­ing of all the steps, be­cause there needs to be a bal­ance be­tween ac­cu­racy in mea­sure­ments and the aes­thetics of the shoe.

Founded by Ital­ian shoe­maker Alessan­dro Ber­luti in 1895, the com­pany was ac­quired by LVMH in 1993. Its cur­rent cre­ative direc­tor is Alessan­dro Sartori, who is also Ital­ian. The brand has three lines of footwear: readyto-wear, in­clud­ing Alessan­dro Ox­fords, Brunico Boots and Gas­pard Der­bies; spe­cial or­ders, that are based on ex­ist­ing styles; and be­spoke, which is the core and the soul of the brand. Each pair of cus­tom shoes re­quires 50 man hours and six months to pro­duce, from the mo­ment of mea­sur­ing till turn­ing them over to the cus­tomer, and costs over S$10,500.

Ser­vice Al­ways Comes First

Over 4,000 pairs of shoe lasts, mim­ick­ing the feet of its cus­tomers, hang in Ber­luti’s Paris stu­dio. An im­pres­sive num­ber of public fig­ures and artists count among the brand’s fol­low­ing. Its Andy loafers, de­signed for the pop artist Andy Warhol, for ex­am­ple, have al­ready be­come a clas­sic model for the brand.

Casa­longa spends six months a year in the Paris work­room. Ev­ery quar­ter, for about seven to 10 days, he meets cus­tomers in places like Miami, New York, San Fran­cisco, Hong Kong, South Korea, Ja­pan and Sin­ga­pore. Ev­ery other month, he vis­its Shang­hai, Bei­jing, Guangzhou and Chengdu in China. All in, he makes about 100 pairs of be­spoke shoes each year.

On this visit to Sin­ga­pore, he is meet­ing cus­tomers, tak­ing mea­sure­ments and choos­ing the leather. His Sin­ga­pore cus­tomers place the great­est em­pha­sis on com­fort, he says. Many are busi­ness­men and en­trepreneurs who or­der mul­ti­ple pairs of the same style at a time. Among the more fash­ion-for­ward clients, it is de­sign and orig­i­nal­ity that counts. A third type of client has feet that re­quire “a very high de­gree of cus­tomi­sa­tion” for a good fit. And then there are those who are get­ting a pair made从小喜欢手做东西的让米歇尔卡萨隆加,是伯尔­for a spe­cial oc­ca­sion or an­niver­sary.

鲁帝最年轻的制鞋师傅。For Casa­longa, “per­fect footwear is a true bal­ance be­tween com­fort and style”. The mea­sure­ments for cus­tom shoes are so im­por­tant that only by mea­sur­ing a cus­tomer’s feet in the great­est de­tail can a truly com­fort­able pair of shoes be made. All the de­sign bells and whis­tles come later. Cus­tomers can choose their de­sired shape (round, pointed or square), the colour of the soles and lining, any iden­ti­fy­ing carv­ing or print, the style of the thread, and pick of skin or leather (from the choice of Venezia, python skin, shark skin and other Ber­luti sig­na­ture leathers). Ber­luti’s tra­di­tional patina colour­ing tech­nique is ap­plied to give the leather its shade and tone. If a cus­tomer’s feet are not suited for a spe­cific de­sign, he will be ad­vised so, to avoid un­nec­es­sary dis­com­fort to the wearer.

Some clients have very clear ideas of what they want in their shoes, while oth­ers let the shoe­maker take the lead, says Casa­longa. He ad­vises greater client in­volve­ment re­gard­ing per­sonal taste and style, be­cause “I don’t re­ally un­der­stand the cus­tomers who say ‘do as you like’, and, once the shoes are made, won’t wear them. If the shoes don’t fit your style, it just won’t work”.

Af­ter carv­ing the lasts and cre­at­ing the model, the shoe­maker meets the cus­tomer for a fit­ting to see if the cus­tomer is sat­is­fied and if ad­just­ments are nec­es­sary. “When cus­tom-cre­at­ing shoes, ser­vice al­ways comes first,” says Casa­longa. “Serv­ing clients re­quires ul­ti­mate pa­tience.”

Noth­ing de­lights Ber­luti staff more than a cus­tomer step­ping into a Ber­luti store wear­ing Ber­luti shoes and tak­ing a pair in for re­pairs — with more than one pair in the house, each pair may get some rest in be­tween wear, ex­plains Casa­longa. If one de­vel­ops a habit of wear­ing a pair for one day, then rest­ing it for two days, own­ing just a few pairs would last one a life­time, he as­sures.

Some of Casa­longa’s tools are 50 to 60 years old and no longer avail­able on the mar­ket. They were ei­ther found in flea mar­kets or passed down from re­tir­ing cob­blers. Is this a dy­ing trade?

Casa­longa ac­knowl­edges that it is dif­fi­cult to sur­vive as in­de­pen­dent shoe­mak­ers to­day with­out the mus­cle of a big name be­hind them, but the de­mand for qual­ity be­spoke goods will al­ways be there. “To ex­press their own in­di­vid­ual taste and iden­tity, peo­ple are not just cus­tom-mak­ing their shoes, but also hats and coats. Be­spoke is a re­turn­ing trend. More and more peo­ple like go­ing back to the tra­di­tional and are in­ter­ested in old world-qual­ity and hand­craft.”

卡萨隆加最享受用刀具削出鞋楦的过程。

Ber­luti’s tra­di­tional colour­ing tech­nique gives shoes their dis­tinc­tive shade and tone.

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