“The past is a foreign country,” author L.P. Hartley famously wrote in his book The Go-Between. Perhaps that’s why we hold on to the postcards…
It was November when I first stumbled upon the early stages of the new Topanga business Busto & Sun, during which I had met the gent himself, Enrico Busto, hard at work with his soon-to-be brick-and-mortar. Busto makes hats, belts and other accessories. The Italian-born craftsman handcrafts everything he sells at the new shop.
I paid Busto a visit recently to see his finished product. He welcomed me again with his familiar, warm, inviting presence, sat me down on his shop couch, and we chatted a bit. Fair to say I was taken aback with how the shop came out.
It’s amazing seeing the shop put together. Has Busto & Sun been a project of yours, and for how long?
Yes…I mean, I’ve been making hats for like four years. I opened the shop about two months ago, so it’s rather new. I wanted to create a space where I feel comfortable and I feel at home because you know, I’m spending most of my time here, and I’m working here, and I’m making the hats here…
With your workshop right [behind], it feels like home.
Yes, exactly, exactly.
What inspires you with your hats?
I usually have something that people feel comfortable to wear everyday. I don’t want to create a hat for, let’s say, the “special” occasion. I like to create the hats for those special occasions, but I want the people to enjoy the hats everyday, you know, like a little accessory that makes you feel a little better. I don’t like to have a specific line of style. I like to get inspired by everything, and especially by the people, and most of the hats I make are custom.
I talk with people and understand what they want, what they like, how they dress, and how they want to wear it, and I make that hat for them. And my goal is that they feel comfortable with that hat. That’s why there is such a variety of styles here, because there is a variety of people. [The hats] are like an extension of their personality.
I do everything here in front of [the guests], so there are no tricks. I don’t do premade hats. I create everything from scratch, and all the hats are one-of-a-kind…and everything is done by hand. You can customize [each hat] as you want.
I would assume with Topanga you get a nice variety of people.
Yes, this is the crème de la crème.
How do you enjoy being in Topanga Canyon?
I’ve been living in the Canyon for four years, and I think it’s the best place. There’s a perfect balance between nature and heart here.
Yes, absolutely. As a local myself, I can relate 100 percent. Something about this canyon is very inspiring.
Yeah, it’s also slower, if you want, than Los Angeles, and sometimes you need to take a step back to see things from a bigger perspective.
Besides hats now, what else do you do? I notice you have scarves.
Yes, I like accessories. I work a lot with silk. I love silk. It’s such a beautiful fabric that you can wear as a bandana now, which is very popular (laughs). Or like the scarves that you saw, or even a hair tie. Then I have my own line of belts and leathers. And even with my hats, I like to create a loud interior…I like to say the exterior is for the other people; the interior is for yourself. That’s why I love to work with nice silk, nice liners…and it’s the same with the belts, I want to have the interior of the belts just as unique.
Where do you source these beautiful fabrics from?
Oh! Pretty much mostly from Italy.
Are you from Italy yourself?
Yeah, yeah, I am from Italy, Venice. Everything here is handcrafted, 99 percent by me. It’s what I like to do.