Those who have always thought of Berluti only as the home of elegant, patinated shoes and debonair clothing, think again. Like many traditional brands, it has added a more casual, sporty aspect in recent years, with hoodies, trainers and parkas, all made to its usual exquisite standards and more cut out for the weekend life of the flâneur than for sweating it out in the gym. Now it has moved, like many of its customers’ lifestyles, into a more active arena, with a set of gift-worthy accessories called Toys for Boys.
To handle the limited-edition dumbbells and skipping ropes that have just arrived in only five Berluti flagship stores worldwide is to turn away from crudely weighted plastic and basic metal forever. Berluti has collaborated with German fitness-equipment designer Kristof Hock, who manages to combine real functionality with contemporary sculpture in his designs and whose company was winning awards within a year of its foundation in 2009. He works with sustainable wood, metal specially polished to reflect light, and hand-finished leather, and so was a natural partner for the gym-kit-as-art approach that Berluti wanted.
The dumbbells (£780) are assembled using a specially designed system without bolts or screws, to ensure maximum stability, and are made of ultra-strong, rustproof aluminium with polished and oiled American-walnut handgrips covered in classic Berluti patinated leather subtly engraved with the brand logo. They come with the leather in three colours – brown, red or blue. The skipping rope (£300), with ball bearings and no screws, is made of vegetable-tanned leather in the same colours, with smooth, polished wood handles, also engraved. You can carry them in the brand’s latest, colour-blocked leather backpack (£1,940) – so if your efforts in the gym fall short of your colleagues’, at least your kit will be far more chic.