That's the average price for a pair of Berluti dress shoes. Created in 1962 for Andy Warhol by the world's only female bootmaker, Olga Berluti, the Andy loafers were for years a well-kept secret, custom-made for an exclusive clientele. For the pair's 50th anniversary, six new colours have just been, made-to-order only. They're now in stock at their Mall of the Emirates boutique, but what exactly do you get for your money?
- A hand-finished pair requires 250 operations, as many as for the construction of a cathedral, as its creator likes to say. Each is gorged with oils and vegetables dyes for a patina as deep as Japanese lacquer.
- A trademark is the rich wood-grain look of natural leather, from calves raised in the Swiss Alps. A broad scar exists across one of the two shoes because its being made from hides of hardy cattle that rub against barbed wire. Warhol thought this unconventional feature gave the shoes their edge.
- An in-store polisher can change the colour of a pair according to your liking, via a closely guarded, rigorous rubbing process. It is recommended to bathe the shoes in champagne, to allow the fizz to restore the shiny finish.
- The shoes exude both wildness and structure - featherweight and comfortable as trainers, but with the signs of old-fashioned craftsmanship. They are not afraid of ageing and in fact look best when roughed up. As such, leather is worn for what it really is - not a material but a story.
- It was avant-garde in 1962 and looks completely contemporary – and covetable – today, whether worn with the most formal suit or the most subversive jeans.