Two days ago, Riverdale star Cole Sprouse attended the People’s Choice Awards in Los Angeles while wearing a cyan twist on de facto (albeit shifting) red carpet male wardrobe tenets: a royal blue suit over a shirt and tie in matching sky blue. The whole thing came from Berluti, the Paris-based label founded in 1895 which is enjoying something of a renaissance under current designer Kris Van Assche.
Look close enough and one will see that—besides the slightly out-of-the-ordinary color palette—there was another visual motif at play: finite, handwritten script, woven into the jacket and pants’ azure jacquard fabric.
As it happens, the motif is a longstanding aesthetic staple at Berluti. The company calls it “Scritto,” and it appears on a number of items ranging from Sprouse’s red carpet look to leather belts to, at one point, inscriptions on watches.
The “Scritto” theme, which translates from Italian to English as “written,” is a keystone in Berluti’s visual oeuvre. Lore has it that the script features direct replications of antique letters collected by the Berluti family. Olga Berluti, for example, is said to have purchased a French letter dating from the 18th century to add to the house’s archives.
While Sprouse’s look wasn’t a massive departure from menswear’s red carpet norms, it further demonstrates that, even in a coat-and-tie, guys are starting to enjoy a bit more wiggle room—and to push the creativity forward. Shirts do not have to be white or striped or with a certain collar cut; they can have cloud-like marble prints. Blazers and sportcoats do not need to be black or gray or navy; they can feature reinterpretations of long-ago penmanship, layered into eye-popping color. And they, as Sprouse proves, can work very well.