Magazine, Autumn/Winter 2008/09
delvaux.com Brillant Black Edition – Box Calf, Glazed finish calf with square markings – 50 examples
Delvaux Magazine is published by Delvaux Créateur S.A./N.V., François Schwennicke & Christian Salez Blvd Louis Schmidtlaan 7, 1040 Brussels - Belgium
Editorial coordinator Aline Dewever
Veerle Windels Christopher Ballantine André Glorieux
Photography Filip Vanzieleghem Frederik Heyman Guy Kokken Hannelore Knuts Ilse Liekens Paolo Zambaldi Tierney Gearon Wim Daneels By2 Photographers
Illustrations Steve Jakobs
Concept & Graphic Design
Vicky Haesaert, Frank Schouwaerts, Bart Kiggen, Bodo Peeters, Laurent Lenders, Jean Oppalfens – for Flink Didier Vervaeren Steve Jakobs
Blvd Louis Schmidtlaan, 7 1040 Brussels - Belgium Tel: 02/738.00.40 email@example.com www.delvaux.com Nothing in this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without the prior written permission of the publisher. The publisher cannot be held responsible for the views and opinions expressed in this magazine by authors and contributors. Een Nederlandse versie kan worden aangevraagd op www.delvaux.com. La version Française peut être commandée sur www.delvaux.com. Registration of personal data Your data will be registered in the Delvaux customer database. This data will be used to send the magazine to you and to keep you up to date with forthcoming offers, promotions or other Delvaux activities. In accordance with the law regarding the protection of privacy, you are entitled to see and alter your details. You can unsubscribe from forthcoming electronic and other communications on www.delvaux.com.
| Autumn/Winter 2008/09
Frederik Heyman, photographer:
“The mix of old and new at Delvaux fascinates me. I didn’t realise that the House had existed for so long and that the craftsmanship of the past was accorded such respect. I also love the old trunks that bear testament to bygone days. At the same time, there is a fresh new wind blowing through Delvaux, thanks partly to new associations like those with Hannelore Knuts and Bruno Pieters. Unseen, yet daring.”
Veerle Windels, fashion journalist: “Delvaux is luxury with a capital ‘L’. In that sense, the Belgian leather goods brand truly is one of a kind. An exception to the rule that profits and margins rule the roost. Delvaux remains true to the traditional values of quality and beauty and has remained Belgian through and through. For me, that’s reason enough for working on Delvaux Magazine.”
Christopher Ballantine, copywriter:
“When I first came to Belgium seventeen years ago, I’d never heard the name Delvaux. However, it didn’t take me long to learn that Delvaux is one of those marvellously well-kept Belgian secrets, a family company handcrafting wonderful products. Writing for Delvaux Magazine has helped me to realise quite what an exceptional House it is.”
EDITORIAL Founded in 1829 in Brussels, Delvaux is the oldest fine leather luxury goods company in the world. Delvaux has remained a family-owned company, precisely because it wants to protect such values as ethics, quality, exclusivity and elegance, and to be able to deliver an authentic luxury experience to its customers, based on their expectations. Delvaux is first and foremost about the product: handmade following the oldest craft traditions, using the finest leathers, created by renowned designers in limited editions to guarantee exclusivity, meticulously entered each season since 1938 in the House’s ‘Gold Book’. Products made with taste and perfection, to last generations. At Delvaux, you can personalise your products, through the choice of leather, its colour, by its brushed or polished accessories, or even by having your initials embossed. You can also have a bespoke product of your dreams made in consultation with the craftsmen and designers. At this point, you can order a specific amount of leather from the same batch, so that other products in the same grain and colour can be created for you in the future. Finally in a constantly changing world, Delvaux today more than ever aims to continue to meet your most stringent demands when it comes to quality of service. Whether that be when you visit our shops or make use of our after-sales service to prolong the life of your items. Our approach is indeed founded on the strong belief that what drives you to visit our shops is above all your desire for nothing but the best. We are therefore delighted to welcome you to the first issue of Delvaux Magazine, which will be published twice a year. We trust that it will give you an idea of all the efforts we are making to keep you satisfied. Enter the Legend, the Delvaux Legend. And join the inner circle.
François Schwennicke Executive Chairman
Christian Salez Chief Executive Officer
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28-37 Foulard Fever
56-59 Work in progress
10-11 Craftsmanship makes a comeback
38-40 I seek perfection
60-63 Le Brillant 1958- ...
12-13 Playing with the codes
42-47 Toile de Cuir revisited
64-65 Pure luxury Since 1829
16-23 A guide to Delvaux’s leathers
48-49 Studio Delvaux
66-67 Did you say gift?
50-54 The unexpected Hannelore Knuts
68-69 I love Delvaux
24-27 A lifetime’s passion
70-71 The making of the Autumn/Winter campaign 08/09 72-73 FAQs 74 Where to find Delvaux
Neo As an arbiter of taste, the best news from the House Delvaux is reserved for you. International titbits, hot off the press, real stop press items, but also limited editions of the highest order. You can browse through them all in NEO.
â€ƒ |â€ƒ Autumn/Winter 2008/09
DIAMONDS LUXURY SPECIAL EDITION
Delvaux at Colette
Diamonds, a literally glittering book from the publisher Tectum, which tells the story of the world of diamonds, by British writer Christine Gordon who immersed herself in the diamond industry for ten years, is now also being published in an extraordinary luxury edition. Not only is there a precious (certified) one-carat diamond included with this exclusive edition of the book, but it is also being presented in a handmade red leather cover, designed by the House Delvaux. With a print run of 500, this book is a real recommendation for the Christmas stocking. And proof that Delvaux is also involved in unexpected areas.
From October 2008 the ‘Hannelore for Delvaux’ collection will be sold in Colette, the Parisian style temple. During Paris fashion week, the windows of the cult store will be devoted to three designs created by top model Hannelore Knuts as the first guest of Studio Delvaux, with the help of the House’s craftsmen. This international collaboration is a first for the Belgian luxury leather goods company, as well as being a great moment for Belgian fashion. Colette is, and remains even after ten years, the point of reference in the avant-garde fashion world.
DELVAUX.COM More than just a good read
The Brillant’s different moods The House Delvaux is paying a fitting tribute to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Brillant, which has been such a success since its launch in 1958. Ten new Brillant models will be offered in oversize format, undoubtedly made to order, all of which challenge the technical skills of leather goods workmanship. Each item plays with the codes and shuffles them around to show off some of the House’s values. One unveils tradition in a wink towards the Chesterfield, while another allows us to share the adventure by carrying the Olympic colours. Humour, culture and the work of the craftsman are certainly not forgotten. Creating this oversize Brillant expresses the spirit of renewal that has always wafted through the House. The limited edition ‘Black Edition’ will moreover only be on sale at Louis in Antwerpen (Lombardenvest), at Natan XIII in Brussels (Rue Dansaertstraat) and in the Delvaux stores in Antwerpen, Brussels and Knokke-Het-Zoute.
In mid-November, online sales will start through www.delvaux.com. No ordinary online shop, but a place where Delvaux fans can find current models and special editions available exclusively through the website. This exceptional new shop will be able to serve Delvaux fans all round the world (except Asia). Furthermore, it will have very high standards of customer service, i.e. products can be exchanged or even reimbursed up to two weeks after purchase. Customers will have the choice between two forms of delivery. An ordinary courier service, or the extra-special ‘white glove’ delivery service, very exclusive, with a courier wearing white gloves. This ‘white glove’ service will initially be available only in Paris and the surrounding areas, but will rapidly be expanded. The luxury feeling right up to the front door, of course.
“Folder” Handmade BY DELVAUX Designer Stefan Schöning, voted Designer of the Year 2008 by the Interieur Foundation and by the magazines Weekend Knack and Weekend Le Vif/L’Express, is exhibiting a Delvaux version of his ‘Folder’ chair, created in the new millennium. ‘Folder by Delvaux’ is an ingenious chair which is made by hand, using Japanese Origami techniques. Origami, a sophisticated folding technique usually performed with paper to produce recognisable figures, has been raised to an art form in Japan. The chair which Schöning will exhibit is made from Delvaux’s black Taurillon leather. This exclusive, top quality leather will be applied to a flexible material to make it stiffer and more solid thanks to a system developed by Delvaux and the designer. The ‘Folder’ chair was originally produced in a white synthetic material. Thanks to this new project with the House Delvaux, Schöning has been able to extend the potential of his talent into the area of luxury leather goods, which he has never before explored. ‘Folder by Delvaux’ will be unveiled in October at Interieur 08, the biennial design and contemporary furniture exhibition in Kortrijk, in parallel with a retrospective exhibition and the publication of a book about the designer’s work. Produced in an extremely limited edition, this rare and unique object, traditional and modern at the same time (values dear to Delvaux), will later be made to order. www.stefanschoning.com
CRAFTSMANSHIP MAKES A COMEBACK Non-blacks, fierce reds and modest greys make up the outstanding colour palette for Autumn/Winter 2008/09. Rounded fuller forms continue to make a statement, but the inspiration seems stronger. And luxury is the keyword. Essential basics with added value. Preferably with handcrafting as the signature. The story of a trend.
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It’s odd how fashion journalists, after weeks of watching the catwalks in cities like New York, Milan, London and Paris, all finally seem to agree on one set of trends. It often looks as if trends are a conspiracy between designers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Trends hang in the air. They’re the result of a great amount of thinking, but are also part of the zeitgeist. That famous spirit of the times that trend-spotters fall in love with for a few months, before they realise that the wind is blowing in another direction. For the coming season we’ve also seen definite signs of renewal on the catwalks. New colours for example which spell the end of black’s dominance. Non-blacks as they’re known, the many variations of mauve, purple and violet. They evolve into
bordeaux shades or rusty colours, and thus ensure a striking if more muted colour palette. Above all, they can also be combined in previously unexplored permutations. In previous seasons, designers had already researched the body’s contours. This resulted in dramatic shapes which could be described as groundbreaking. This season, experimentation has been carried even further: sleeves are fuller, collars impressive, waists raised, volumes greater everywhere. It’s clear that the look is stronger and more sober. The sexiness of last season has been drastically reduced. No part of the body is exposed, collars go much higher, skirt lengths drop drastically to below the knee and hats and shawls envelop the head.
Felt Thick wool Supple jersey Hairy materials Fur in all its glory
Are fashions becoming less erotic? Absolutely not. Quite the contrary: invisible eroticism is more attractive. What is striking is that attention has shifted to the older woman. The extremely young model is being replaced by a woman who has both feet planted firmly on the ground and who does things her own way. The strict silhouette is thus seen as the woman’s own choice. She will dress in whatever way she wants and undress only when she wants to.
A lot of fashion commentators thought it was a rather cool, somewhat distant fashion. They used these words about stiff, felt-like wool, about layers, about sleeveless jackets. Perhaps it can also be said that the sporty aspect has disappeared, and given way to a more chic look. Certainly, thanks to the countless accessories on the market, it can’t look chic enough: hats, berets, shawls, etc. But what’s more, some designers are using Haute Couture techniques. Previously unseen in ready-to-wear collections, but beautifully in tune with the times.
Baggy jerseys Heavy coats High waisted trousers Short boleros Striking collars Padded shoulders Handcrafted Headdress/hats/berets
COLOURS/PRINTS Tartan Small flowers Stripes Grey Red/orange Blue shades Violet and mauve
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PLAYING WITH THE CODES The new Delvaux Autumn/ Winter 2008/09 collection reads like a gripping story about the past, present and future. Didier Vervaeren’s credo is that it is important to keep the traditions of the House in mind and add a helping of creativity. “I see it as a challenge to ensure that the different elements in a collection flow seamlessly together,” says the Delvaux head of studio. Let’s now dive with him into the inspiration behind this season’s collections.
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“The Delvaux universe is huge,” states the man who has been the House’s head of studio for more than three seasons now. “The past plays a crucial role, but we must not forget that we have to forge ahead continuously. Creativity is what drives us. Above all, we can play with the codes in leather goods, because we are perfectly versed in our profession. Our craftsmen are our luxury.” So, for example, he does all he can to revisit the ‘Patrimoine’ models, the stayers in the collection like the Brillant, Coquin, Tempête and Givry, and give them a new flair. “New colours are always a good way forward, but reinterpretation can also be tempting. New shapes will probably address a
For the coming Autumn/Winter 2008/09 collection, the creative team added some enthralling themes. Dolce Vita for example, which lives up to its name. “It has a very Latin feeling which revitalises the collection with its glamour, curves and colours. Just think of the leading ladies in Italy’s Dolce Vita era, Anita Ekberg and Sophia Loren, women who took pleasure in looking elegant for the day ahead and who were comfortable with that.” Is it any wonder then that the Dolce Vita woman looks more sensual than ever? In the Dolce Vita range, Toile de Cuir has been reintroduced, with stunning effect on models like Roma, Capri, Divino or Milano.
Daily is a family of bags that, above all, are highly practical. “For the woman who works hard, but also likes to relax. For the self-assured multi-tasker who is a tower of energy at work, but who’s also a seductive woman and a tender mother at home. These bags really evoke the Delvaux spirit. A slightly stronger and more durable look, but also recognisable by their details and finishing.”
new audience.” The Métropole range has an extremely urban feeling without being pinned down to any particular city. “Think of Tokyo in the film ‘Lost in Translation’, think of Saint-Germain in Paris and of Covent Garden in London. These last two are indeed model names in this real city range, with an architectural outline and shapes that move. A woman can always take this bag out with her, because she can choose how to wear it: on the shoulder or held in her hand.”
FACTORY Factory is also a whole new range, with a very rock ‘n’ roll feeling, young and brimming with humour. The numerous zips and the modern cut of the bags are striking. “Here we’re on a trip of the leather “perfecto” jacket, of Studio 54, of Warhol, and everything associated with them. These are for the customer who would never have chosen Delvaux before and who now can. Perhaps she rides a motorbike and wears boots in summer. A rather unconventional collection in which we’ve decided to revive the daring that has often been the House’s distinguishing feature. The daring which meant we were the first to add a recognisable buckle to a model in the 1950s (the Brillant), to launch a supple non-lined holdall for students in the 1970s (the Pin), or even to create a luxury backpack at the end of the 1980s (the Lucifer).”
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Astrid Baguette – Vernis, Patent calf leather – 100 examples
Cabas, vegetable tanned calf
A GUIDE TO DELVAUXâ€™S LEATHERS No matter which model, a Delvaux bag is the result of a high degree of creativity, experienced craftsmanship and raw material of the finest quality.
When she talks about Delvaux leathers, even when her hands are empty, Elise Barlet, Quality executive, has a look of wonder and ‘feels’ the leather between her fingers as if she’s evaluating it by touch and sight. Delvaux doesn’t take the quality of its leathers lightly. Evidence of this is the fact that it has appointed Elise to head this section because she is a qualified Leather Engineer with a degree from ITECH, the Textile and Chemical Institute of Lyon (Institut Textile et Chimique de Lyon). She is responsible for imposing the company’s requirements on its tanners. She translates the management’s desires into technical terms.
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Developing desired leathers and their quality can sometimes take many months of intense work (resistance to light, water and wear, its colouring, touch, structure, etc.), often almost a year. It’s a rough and testing journey before these multi-coloured and intensely sophisticated materials reach the studios. To start with, the tanners who work for Delvaux are highly selective about the breeders who supply them. The breed, the environment, the climate, the type of farm and the food all play their part in the choice of skin. Once the animal has been skinned, numerous chemical and mechanical operations are needed to preserve the skin and turn it into leather. Until it reaches the tannery, the skin is kept dry or salted. Soaking or moistening it is the tannery’s first operation. This consists of eliminating the preservatives and soiling from the skin before the hair is removed chemically, by scraping or rinsing, and tanning to remove the remaining flesh and fat. The thickness of the skin varies from place to place, so it is split to obtain the desired thickness by reducing the crust of the skin. This ‘crust’ forms the inside surface of the skin as opposed to the ‘grain side’ which is the outside surface. For the actual tanning as such, the skins go through large vats where different ingredients act on the skin’s fibres. Mineral components (chrome or alum salts) for the more supple leathers and vegetable components (oak or chestnut bark) for more solid leathers.
The skins are then wrung out and classified before being fed with fat to ensure their suppleness and impermeability. It is only after this that they go for dyeing where they spend varying amounts of time in the vats according to whether colouring is required on the surface or with more depth. Once they have been dyed with the exclusive Delvaux colours, the skins are dried on frames to make them flat and smooth and to avoid shrinkage. They are then softened and pulled in all directions before being pressed to get a smooth satin or a grained finish. The final stage is the finishing.
Delvaux has worked for many years with highly respected tanners. Sometimes Italian, but more frequently French, such as Tanneries Roux near Lyon, and Haas or Degermann, near Strasbourg.
General care After about six months’ use, regular maintenance with the appropriate cleaning and feeding products will help to preserve the qualities of the leather. Delvaux recommends using its range of specific care products between one and four times per year, depending on how often the item is used, to reinforce the leather’s natural ability to revive itself. With a little patina, scratches will be less apparent. Some bags come back to the after-sales department after 30 years use... Leather is permeable. It therefore suffers from contact with coloured liquids (felt tip pens, ink, etc.) or greasy products which often leave indelible stains. Apart from glazed leathers (varnished, patent crocodile, etc.), fine rain leaves no trace on the leather, especially if it is wiped with a soft, dry cloth. Finally, leather is light sensitive. Prolonged exposure to sunlight accelerates its natural discolouration. The most sensitive colours are red, blue and green. Nonetheless, each leather has its own individual care instructions which our sales staff will explain to you; Toile de Cuir or ostrich, for example, have no need of any care products.
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Each batch of leathers is received at the tannery by Christian Personne, another of the House’s leather specialists. It is only after he has approved the choice of hide, the conformity of colour and above all, the quality, that the leather is sent to the studios. Delvaux mainly uses calf leather (70% to 80%). The term ‘calf’ applies only to young cattle that are not more than a few months old. It should not be confused with the cowskin used for leather goods which designates older animals. Calf guarantees a thinner skin with denser fibres which acquire a better patina over time. It has also usually suffered less damage from small wounds or scratches than older animals. It should be emphasised that these calves are bred for their pale meat which is particularly popular in Western Europe, and not for their hides. However, Delvaux’s reserves also include lamb, goat, bullock, alligator, ostrich, salmon, lizard, snake, cobra, ray, all coming from farmed animals. And, last but not least, the House’s flagship product for over 25 years, Toile de Cuir, an exclusive product consisting of finely woven strips of leather produced in the Charles Schambourg studios in Brussels. (page 42) The new Autumn/Winter 2008/09 collection also features exotic leathers, such as matt alligator for the Paola, for example, or alligator back for the Hannelore model. The company’s valuable reserves comprise a total of around forty different leathers. With the exception of the exotic and traditional classic leathers such as Box Calf, for example (a specially smooth calf leather), these leathers are all named by Delvaux and these names often come from the equestrian world (Jumping, Trotteur, Bridon, etc.).
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No fewer than 70% of the leathers that Delvaux receives are first choice leathers. In other words, skins of faultless quality across their entire surface. Second and third choice leathers (whose usable area is more restricted) are used only for articles which need smaller pieces of leather, such as smaller leather goods or jewellery. Despite the strictness of this selection, 50% of a hide can never be used. This means that it takes a hide of 2m2 to make a bag with 1m2 of flawless leather! In general, it’s the lower part of the hide (the animal’s hindquarters) that provides the most beautiful and most supple leather. Delvaux uses this for the front and back of its products. The middle of a skin is used only for the gussets, handles and shoulder straps, while the top (the animal’s neck) is used for the small interior compartments of a bag for example. The quality of the leathers it selects is always a point of honour for Delvaux. The leather cutter, the person responsible for the correct thickness, the seamstresses and the master craftsmen who assemble Delvaux bags and objects all work with just one quality: the finest. Even the leather linings are of top quality: in extremely supple Pécari (pigskin) or in Basane, a vegetable tanned firm beige calfskin with a silky touch.
Madras, vegetable tanned goat with a fine grain
Ladycalf, wet look calf with a natural grain
Chèvre glacée souple: plantaardig gelooide Madras geit, geglaceerde Photographer: look, stevige Filip Vanzieleghem ‘touché’.
The Lexicon of leather Flesh: interior of the skin. Grain leather: leather with a grain which is natural, or artificially applied by a hot plate at the tannery. Smooth leather: almost free from grain after the application of a hot plate (Jumping lisse) or after polishing with agate (Box Calf). Finest quality leather: leather where the outer surface hasn’t been corrected by sanding. Most Delvaux leathers are what is known as ‘full grain’. Vegetable leather: tanned with vegetable tanning agents (mimosa, chestnut, etc.) to achieve a relatively stiff leather usually used for rigid articles: briefcases, attaché cases, game bags and, of course, saddlery. Grain: : the outer surface of the leather, the side of the skin on which the fur grows. Hand: describes the texture, the appearance and the elasticity, but the term is also associated with the feel: waxy, velvety, glazed, silky, soft, etc. Nubuck: a leather whose outer surface has been sanded specifically to give a velvety touch and a shot-silk appearance. Cowskin: leather from adult animals, mainly used for furniture and upholstery (car seats) because of their large size.
Spotlight on the main leathers in the Delvaux Autumn/Winter 2008/09 collection Alligator matt and glazed: Alligator from the United States, supple hand for the matt finish, stiff for the agate-polished glazed finish. Box Calf: French calf with a firm hand and smooth, glazed appearance despite a grain in vertical and horizontal lines. Bridon: French calf with a natural appearance which acquires a patina over time, full hand. Cabas: Supple vegetable tanned Norwegian calf with a satin touch. Chèvre glacée souple: Vegetable tanned Madras goat, glazed appearance, firm hand. Désert: French calf with an unfinished appearance and a supple hand. Destrier souple: French calf, waxed finish for a satin appearance and a flexible hand. Jumping: French calf with a satin appearance and a small applied grain, firm hand and a glazed touch; highly resistant to scratches and wear. Ladycalf: French calf with a natural light grain, resistant and durable, a supple hand and very flexible. Santiag: Bullock, sanded with a Nubuck appearance and a velvety touch, thick and supple hand. Patent: Small Italian calf with a covered finish for a smooth and shiny mirror effect, a sensitive leather.
Calf velvet: frequently called suede, a sanded leather, using the flesh side.
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A lifetime’s Passion The exotic leathers that Delvaux uses for some of its more exclusive creations require highly specialised treatment. And no-one is better qualified than André Croonen, who has worked at Delvaux for over 20 years.
“My father ran his own fine leather goods business,” says André. “He made wallets and purses for a small clientele, and when I finished school at the age of 17, I joined him in the business. It was an excellent place to learn how to work with leather because we made everything by hand, from A to Z. I left my father’s business and worked as an accountant for a while, but leather was always my first love.”
“When I decided to go back to working with leather, my father introduced me to Delvaux, which at that time was still in Rhode-St-Genèse in Brussels. I started working on items that I was familiar with, like wallets and purses,” continues André. “I then moved on to handbags, a completely new area for me where I learned a lot. Delvaux customers expect the highest quality and that was the reason the company offered exclusive services and had an after-sales department. This was my next stop. We worked on repairing and refurbishing handbags, making them as good as new again.”
“When the executive in charge of small leather goods became head of Reptile services, he asked me to join him, and this is where I currently work,” smiles André. “We deal with all the exotic leathers and skins here, such as alligator, lizard, ostrich, snake, salmon and ray. These pose a completely different challenge from normal leathers.” “We start by selecting the skins carefully to get an exact colour match, because we use more than one skin per bag. It seems odd, but when you look carefully, you can see that different black skins have several different tones, for instance,” says André. “Once we’ve chosen which skins will be used together, we clean them by hand very meticulously, taking extreme care not to damage the top of the skin, or the ‘fleur’ as we call it. With ostrich, for instance, hand cleaning is really the only way to ensure we don’t tear the ‘perle’ (the little bobbles) from the ‘fleur’. The next stage is to glue the skin to a backing leather to give it the
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stiffness we need. This backing leather is then shaved down to the right thickness for whichever part of the bag it will be used in; we work in units of 0.1 (or 1 mm). The leather is then cut to shape for the individual sections of the bag. This whole process can take several hours before they go on to be made up!”
“An exotic skin such as snake is very tricky because it’s as fine as a cigarette paper, so sewing the 10cm strips together and matching the scale pattern takes a lot of skill.”
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“You then have to ensure that these seams are invisible by shaving the skin and pressing it, both very delicate operations.” “Our work not only involves preparing the current leathers that we use, we’re also always experimenting with new techniques to see whether we can extend the range of leathers in our collections. Sometimes it’s the designers who drive us to find new solutions. For the Hannelore bag, for example, we had to learn how to work with the back of an alligator, as we’d always previously used belly. But that was what Hannelore Knuts wanted, so we found a solution!” “That’s what makes working with leather so special for me. It’s never the same. Each skin is different, it may be drier and less supple, or really hard to work, like ray which is virtually impossible to stitch. But finding new methods, new solutions, make my lifelong passion extremely rewarding,” concludes André.
Foulard fever The focus is on foulards, yet at the same time it isn’t. It’s turning autumnal, with dark, typically Belgian skies and people, figures in the wind. There is surrealism, but also Belgian humour. Always that edge. The horse is everywhere, a reference to the logo that, at Delvaux, is never forgotten. It is a constantly recurring theme in the images. Present, but absent too.
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Delvaux Autumn/Winter 2008/09 collection photographer: Frederik Heyman assistant photographer: Dieter Desuarte / Lot Doms styling: Pholoso Selebo make-up: Blonde models: Wencelas & Joyce at visionmodelmanagement.net
“I seek perfection” Bruno Pieters’ tutors at the Antwerpen Academy knew from the start that he was no nine-day wonder. Bruno appeared to be very talented and ended his education in 1999 with a Distinction. He then became an assistant successively to Martin Margiela, Josephus Thimister and Christian Lacroix ( for the Haute Couture range). In 2001, Bruno designed his own couture collection which he presented in Paris. It won extensive praise in leading fashion magazines and newspapers. In 2002, Bruno switched to a ready-to-wear Women’s collection to which, in 2007, he added a Men’s collection. In 2006, he won the prestigious Swiss Textiles Award, and the following year, Yves Saint Laurent’s Andam prize. In June 2007, Bruno Pieters was appointed artistic director of the Hugo collection at Hugo Boss. On top of this, he started working with Delvaux on the 1829 Men’s Line. A busy bee, Bruno. www.brunopieters.com
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Photographer: Guy Kokken
â€œI love pure, sometimes even austere lines,â€? he explains immediately. No matter whether it is for garments or vital accessories, Bruno Pieters is a stickler for precise construction and an ingenious cut.
Martin Margiela was a member of the jury which awarded Bruno Pieters a degree with Distinction from the Antwerpen Academy in 1999. Since then, this Belgian designer has built an international reputation. As well as clothing, Bruno Pieters has created the highly exclusive 1829 Men’s Line for Delvaux. At the end of 2008, new models will be added to the five in the Autumn/Winter 2007/08 collection. “I love pure, sometimes even austere lines,” he explains immediately. No matter whether it is for garments or vital accessories, Bruno Pieters is a stickler for precise construction and an ingenious cut. “Because the cut is how one can innovate in fashion. And this is an inexhaustible source of inspiration. If I far prefer sobriety, it’s because everything around us is about look nowadays.” Bruno Pieters is no stranger to Delvaux. “For the Autumn/Winter 2005/06 collection, the House was looking for new designers to give it a fresh impetus,” he remembers.
“In addition to a young internal team, Delvaux hired me as a freelance designer. At that time, I created Women’s models, but I already had the idea of doing a Men’s collection in mind.” Bruno Pieters’ first creation for Delvaux was the Léon woman’s bag.
Carte blanche The Delvaux Men’s Collection currently features five Bruno Pieters designs. The Newspaper Bag is very capacious and allows you to carry a folded newspaper on the outside; the Pochette Plate is ideal for carrying a few things over the shoulder and avoiding bulging trouser or jacket pockets; the Baudrier Grand Modèle and Baudrier Petit Modèle can be worn like a bandolier; and finally, the Serviette Souple is ideal for all sorts of occasions, especially short trips. These models are designed to suit an active man in formal and less formal environments. The designer himself carries ‘his’ Delvaux with him wherever he goes. “Once we had agreed on the format and functions of the bags, the House gave me carte blanche with the choice and colours of the leathers. This collaboration with Delvaux is very satisfying, because we share an identical vision about design. No matter what I design, my passion for perfection is always present. The collections I design are characterised by clean, architectural lines with my trademark attention to detail. But I also design with my soul, each one of my designs carries a little bit of my personality. The difference between one design and another is intimately bound up with the history and development of the label concerned.” At the end of 2008, these new Bruno Pieters designs will join the 1829 Men’s Line: a Weekend Bag, a Laptop Bag and other leather bags, but there will also be scarves and cufflinks.
the Baudrier Grand Modèle 2007
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Spirit of the times An avant-garde designer from the world of contemporary fashion, Bruno Pieters has an enormous respect for the oldest fine leather luxury goods company in the world. “Delvaux has been a benchmark for almost two hundred years, thanks to its quality and exceptional service. By recruiting contemporary designers, the House has proved that it is timeless. An evolution like this is indispensable for surviving economic, as well as political and social vagaries. Delvaux is, and remains, an authority in the world of leather goods. Some of its models are timeless, whereas others reflect the spirit of the times. I believe strongly in the House Delvaux’s future.” A future where men carry bags with increasing frequency, according to Bruno Pieters. “For many men, a briefcase is already an integral part of their everyday attire. The Delvaux Newspaper Bag is the new briefcase for the modern man. But it also has a thousand other uses: it’s nothing like a current conventional briefcase. Today, men invest their purchases with their own values: a love of design, the power of the Delvaux logo, a precious gift. I really enjoy this collaboration with Delvaux. Because of it, the Men’s range is becoming more extensive and possibly, I think, more enjoyable.”
delvaux.com Newspaper Bag, 1829 Men’s Line, designed by Bruno Pieters – Cabas, Vegetable tanned calf – 250 examples
Toile de Cuir revisited The Delvaux Autumn/Winter 2008/09 collection, and more specifically the Dolce Vita family, is available in a modern and original material, Toile de Cuir. This woven material, invented and developed by Charles Schambourg in the 1960s, has been used decoratively by the worldâ€™s greatest architects and was first used in leather goods by Solange Schwennicke at the beginning of the 1980s. Today, Toile de Cuir is one of the most luxurious materials that Delvaux uses.
At the beginning of 2007, Belgian Nicolas Berryer decided to turn his back on his career as a banker with Lehman Brothers in London to take up a profession which he knew nothing about in Brussels. For her part, AngloSwiss South African, Toyine Sellers left an architectural practice with a view of the Manhattan skyline. Not terribly glamorous, but the adventure was going to be a passionate one. Nicolas had heard that Charles Schambourg, luxury craftsman, had died the previous September and that his life’s work was in serious danger of disappearing. This work had been to develop a technique for cutting and weaving thin strips of high quality leather and a boundless creativity in using this technique to make Toile de Cuir. Advised by Christiane Lesaffre, Schambourg’s widow, Nicolas Berryer was hoping to join forces with Toyine, who had known Schambourg well. He persuaded her to leave Peter Marino’s architectural practice in New York, which works for the stars and de luxe brands, and to help him to revive the Schambourg company. Charles Schambourg by Nacarat was born and precious skills and knowledge were saved.
Exclusive surroundings Timeworn murals in Toile de Cuir decorate the relaxed office where Nicolas Berryer welcomes us while Toyine works on a computer at a corner of the table. We’re in a light and spacious industrial building, facing the Volkswagen plant in Forêt. A far cry from the formal elegance of the City or the trendy atmosphere of Manhattan. At least, that’s what it seems like at first glance. And yet this studio is one of the most exclusive and internationally recognised creative
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places in the Belgian capital. It’s here that specialist craftsmen, Cambodian refugees recruited years ago by Charles Schambourg, cut and weave the raw material used for Toile de Cuir. The murals were created by Charles himself. Nicolas inherited them along with the precious reserves and the machines when he took over the company.
The adventurer becomes an artist Coffee is served. The story can begin. We sense Nicolas’ passion and enthusiasm for telling it. “Charles Schambourg was born in 1923. A daring adventurer, he was sent to Germany on a spying mission by the Luxembourg army towards the end of the Second World War, because he was indeed Luxembourgois. During this mission he caught polio. Hospitalisation couldn’t prevent him from spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair. However this didn’t stop him later from seducing and marrying a young Belgian designer, Christiane Lesaffre, a weaver who had graduated from La Cambre art school and with whom he had fallen passionately in love. They didn’t have any children. Christiane was an expert weaver and passed her passion on to Charles. He made it his profession and, with the help of a textile engineer, refined it further and further. Despite his handicap, Charles was bursting with energy.”
Unlike Toyine, Nicolas never met Charles Schambourg. His widow Christiane, for whom the duo have a profound respect, told Nicolas his life story. “Christiane told me that the two of them sometimes went on fabulous journeys to India, Iran and other wonderful countries by steamship or in their Citroën 2CV adapted to accommodate Charles’ handicap. Sometimes modestly, sometimes in grand style, one day the lovebirds were invited to visit the court of the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. The couple became friends of the Shah’s family, a friendship which led to many fruitful meetings for Charles’ professional future. One day the couple received a formal invitation to go to London to celebrate the birthday of Princess Amoush of Iran. Charles, who suspected that someone of her status already had everything she could possibly ever need, thought that he should create a special and unheard of gift for the Princess. This inspired him to weave his first Toile de Cuir as best he could, mixed with strands of metal. So Charles and Christiane set out for London to an extremely sophisticated party carrying their new invention. The Princess and her entourage were
so enthusiastic about this avant-garde creation that Charles decided never to weave with anything other than leather again. The Princess apparently had a skirt made from the Toile de Cuir that Charles and Christiane gave her.”
A precious collaboration Which was how Charles Schambourg’s life passion for becoming an artist and designer was born. He founded a company called Brumelaine to transform his passion into luxury craftsmanship. This was in 1962. “Over the years, his list of customers became crowded with celebrities from the world of style and elegance, such as Hubert de Givenchy or Henry Racamier, the former owner of Louis Vuitton. Serge Robin and the renowned architectural practice Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, used Toile de Cuir to decorate the apartment of Baron Lambert in Brussels. And Jack Lenor Larsen in New York, an extremely exclusive creator known only to insiders, placed an order with Charles
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in Brussels. Toile de Cuir was also used in the decor designed by the architect Peter Marino, in large luxury Houses from Paris to Tokyo. And Toyine was, of course, no stranger to these orders.” While Toile de Cuir was initially used mainly as a material for interior decoration, it took an adventurous and innovative spirit like that of Solange Schwennicke to realise how suitable this material was for high-class leather goods. Solange Schwennicke therefore encouraged Charles Schambourg to push the quality of his products to levels never before achieved. Delvaux and Atelier Schambourg started a long working relationship which, today, is recognised more than ever in the new collection. Slowly but surely, Delvaux became the Atelier Schambourg’s main and then sole customer. After the small pause following Charles’ death, Nicolas is delighted to be able to relaunch this precious collaboration between two Houses which both aim for the height of perfection in their respective professions. He is also delighted to have combined his and Toyine’s skills
with the know-how and experience of Christiane and the craftsmen who devoted themselves to Charles for over 20 years. Today, Toile de Cuir has been developed in ever more modern grades, patterns and colours. Adding a strand of gold, linen or other fine materials. But leather remains the essence. And because of the technique used, Charles Schambourg by Nacarat Toile de Cuir can never be mass-produced.
A manufacturing secret Charles Schambourg and Delvaux choose the most suitable tanners, mainly Italian, but the specifications for Toile de Cuir are quite different from those for hides chosen for mainstream leather goods. “We receive tanned skins of 3 to 4m2, already coloured, so the finishing is already done. We then cut them into strips to create the yarn.” But Nicolas Berryer won’t reveal any more about how his product is created. He scrupulously guards the manufacturing secrets, both mechanical and manual, of his Toile
de Cuir. A lightning visit to the studio confirms that it does indeed exist and that it’s the scene of much hard work. But there are no photos nor dallying around the weavers here to try and understand how Toile de Cuir is made. It’s true that the perfection of the cutting, the connecting of the strips and the weaving command respect and demand ingenious working methods which have been refined over the years. All Nicolas is happy to reveal is a little about how the strips are cut. “We get them in exactly the same way as what you get when you peel an orange,” he smiles. For the rest, Charles and his craftsmen have preserved the mystery of how Toile de Cuir is made for 45 years. Nicolas is not about to betray that trust.
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STUDIO DELVAUX Studio Delvaux is a brand new think tank at House Delvaux. It is a melting pot of creative people who delve into their own particular talents and worlds to develop design ideas for collections. This opens the door to less accessible projects, those which are ahead of their time. Projects that perhaps even go against the flow. Studio Delvaux’s very first guest is Hannelore Knuts. An icon as a model, an inspired photographer with an extraordinary vision. Her creation is being sold in the Delvaux shops in Brussels, Antwerpen and Knokke-Het-Zoute. The idea is that Studio Delvaux projects will also find their way into exclusive department stores in Belgium and abroad in the future. The ‘Hannelore for Delvaux’ bag will be sold in Colette in Paris from October. For connoisseurs, Studio Delvaux is in fact an acknowledgement of Franz Schwennicke who, in the 1950s, decided to place his creative team behind a wellpositioned shop window, near to Beaux-Arts in Brussels. His aim was to emphasise the fact that Delvaux created its own models, even though other local leather goods manufacturers usually took their inspiration from Italian or Parisian creations. And the name of that creative space was Studio Delvaux!
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Photographer: Hannelore Knuts
The unexpected Hannelore Knuts Sitting in her kitchen, long legs tucked up under her and a cup of coffee in her hand, Hannelore Knuts is the very antithesis of the usual image of a world famous model. She smiles a lot, and laughs as she talks about her career from photography student to catwalk star and now back on the other side of the lens once again. “Moving to Antwerpen to study photography was the biggest decision of my life and the one I’m still proudest of,” Hannelore smiles. “It took a lot of courage for a girl from a small town in Limburg to move to the big city on her own and, what’s more, to a pretty famous art college.”
The other side of the lens
The model’s model
Rediscovering her vision
Hannelore had a successful first year on the Antwerpen Academy of Fine Arts photography course, getting a distinction for her work. “Our lecturers told us that even if we didn’t finish the course, the one thing we would learn, even in the first year, was how to look at things. They were right on both counts. They did teach me to really look at things and I didn’t actually finish my course.” In her second year, after some prompting by her tutors and friends, Hannelore took to the catwalk in Paris for Antwerpen graduate Veronique Branquino’s debut show. Hannelore created quite a stir and, for the next six months, fashion journalists and scouts tried to convince her to become a model. “I finally gave in and agreed to do a reportage project about how girls get started in modelling. By the time we’d finished the project, the show season had started and suddenly I was getting good jobs, and one thing led to another.”
“I had a great ten years travelling the world modelling, but I felt that it was maybe time to change the pace and rediscover what normal life was like,” says Hannelore. “Like being able to plan a barbecue with friends weeks in advance and know that I would actually be there! I also wanted to broaden my scope a bit.” Hannelore’s first opportunity came when Delvaux invited her to be the first of the guest designers to work with the new Studio Delvaux ideas laboratory and design her own handbag. “It was quite a coincidence because, a few years ago, my model agency boss said that I should design something, and I made a prototype handbag,” smiles Hannelore. “One of my good friends knows the Delvaux head of studio quite well and when he heard about the Studio Delvaux idea, and that the House wanted to use me for their campaign, he got us together. It was a win-win situation. I got to work with their craftsmen and had a pretty free hand in designing what I modestly think is really quite a good little bag, and they got to use me for their campaign!”
Despite her success designing the ‘Hannelore for Delvaux’ collection, her first love is still photography. “When I was travelling the world modelling, I often found myself alone in beautiful cities with not a lot to do during the day,” explains Hannelore. “After a while it occurred to me that I was being given a golden opportunity to get out and explore these wonderful places and experience normal everyday life in them. I also realised that I’d stopped really looking at things.”
“Photography got me back into the flow again, looking at the cities, exploring, visiting museums, buying books, things I’ d always enjoyed but had almost forgotten.” “My camera provided me with the perfect excuse. I used to roam around and take photos of anything and everything that caught my eye. It was just private stuff, photos I thought I might one day show to my grandchildren!” “I was looking for inspiration and knowledge,” smiles Hannelore. “I was discovering my own visual language through experimenting, learning from books about photographers and art, as well as by observing the photographers I was working with. I shot all sorts of things, beautiful buildings, landscapes, small details like fresh flowers, but also things that some people would find very unattractive. Fashion took me to these places, but the photographs were always the result of my personal vision.”
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the Hannelore 2008 delvaux.comâ€ƒ |â€ƒ 53
Focus on the future
Will Hannelore continue with photography, or branch out into design? “Design is a very specific discipline and I’m not sure whether I’m ready to explore that yet. The thought of doing a complete collection for instance is quite scary,” continues Hannelore. “I might be able to come up with a beautiful collection, but I don’t know if I’d really be able to add anything new. And I don’t really see the point of designing something just to say that I have. Of course if someone asked me to design my ideal chair, I’d love to try, but I don’t think that design will be my main occupation in the near future.”
“I’ve recently taken part in a group photography exhibition in Paris and I got some very supportive reviews of my work. It was a very liberating and rather daunting experience, being exhibited alongside recognised photographers. Having said that, I wasn’t at all afraid of showing my work. As I say, I’ve always taken photographs, probably at least one a day, so I have a huge archive of work from the last ten years that I can choose from. I’ve also had a lot of support from my friends from my Academy days who are now teachers themselves and have given me the self-belief that’s allowed me to exhibit. I’d like to do more, it’s just a question of putting together a collection of photos that I’m happy with. I’m also quite intrigued by the
the Hannelore 2008
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thought of taking photos commercially. I think that may be a bit easier in a way because the subject matter is defined, although I would need some very good technical assistants! For the rest, at the moment, I’m just enjoying a slightly slower pace, rediscovering normal life. Although I’m always open to new modelling commissions,” Hannelore smiles.
delvaux.com Roma ––Bridon Milano Toile de – Cuir, Kalfsleer, Patented aniline woven afwerking leather– –100 220stuks examples / Covent Garden – Santiag, Stierkalfsleer, nubuck afwerking – 250 stuks
Work in progress The new silver jewellery collection from Delvaux Accessories are deeply embedded in Delvaux’s DNA. As long ago as 1962, the House opened its Atelier Fermoir, where designs for fine accessories from the Delvaux studio were made by hand. At that stage, bespoke was the rule. Materials were carefully chosen and each customer’s desires faultlessly brought to life. For Delvaux to launch a jewellery range is no surprise. Jewellery, this time in silver, conceived by the studio and made by hand. Certain to be continued... Find out more on: delvaux.com
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Photographer: Filip Vanzieleghem
double D earrings 2008
double D chain, double D necklace and double D bracelet 2008
double D earrings 2008
Le Brillant 1958 to ...
Photographer: Filip Vanzieleghem
Great classics are there to be cherished. Just like the Brillant from Delvaux. This is the blue chip model in the collection and, fifty years after its creation, it remains more contemporary than ever. Originally called the Jockey, the Brillant was created to celebrate the 1958 Brussels Word Fair. And it has retained its strong identity ever since. In Belgium and far beyond its borders, the 1958 Brussels Word Fair is on record as being a symbol of renewal and progress. From the moment it was created, the Brillant immediately became the symbol of a new generation of women who were actively involved in everyday life and had come a long way from their roles as just housewives. The Brillant was created by Paule Goethals, then a Delvaux designer and graduate of La Cambre, where she studied under architect Henry Van de Velde. The Brillant was her vision of the future: a striking shape, exquisitely finished, made from the most exclusive leathers such as Box Calf in particular, and with an unmissable ‘D’ shaped buckle, the House’s initial letter. This model was and is a complex 38-piece puzzle. An experienced craftsman requires approximately seven hours to make it. That is one thing that hasn’t changed in fifty years.
From its launch, the Brillant was an instant success and has remained so over the years. In the 1960s, photographs of the model in the Hotel Métropole were lapped up by the national media. During the stormy years of protest around 1968, the Brillant held its head high. Even in the 1980s, this model was in a solid first place: on average about 1,500 examples are sold each year. For the Brillant’s 40th birthday in 1998, Delvaux brought out a highly exclusive limited edition of 40 examples, finished with a diamond on the clasp. And who can forget the 2001 Landed/Geland fashion year, when the exhibition curator and fashion designer Walter Van Beirendonck put a canary yellow fluorescent Brillant on his ‘must have’ list? There was even a special Brillant in tennis ball material in honour of Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters. Surprisingly frivolous in fact. In 2006, Laetitia Crahay, who was working with the Delvaux design team at the time, introduced a Brillant with original accessories and a real vintage feel. For its 50th birthday, the studio was quick to launch a limited edition series in totally transparent Cristal vinyl, which sold out in a matter of days thanks to this mythical model’s afficionados.
Right up to the present day, the Brillant has remained a bestseller. It’s an icon, a symbol, a ‘must have’, a classic that matures with time. Delvaux knows that it must cherish the Brillant, meaning that the bag’s image needs to be looked after, and that can be done in many different ways. For the House, it goes without saying that the Brillant will still be part of the collection in fifty years time. Delvaux must constantly offer its customers the opportunity to reappraise it. The Brillant can be looked at in many different ways. Delvaux is an exciting House with many opportunities. One of those always leads to the Brillant. So the Delvaux creative team took the Brillant as a basis from which to develop a series derived from the original 1958 design. In the past, they played with the format of the Brillant. So there was a mini-version and an extra large shopping bag, but the current makeover is really radical. There’s a mini-version of the Brillant in black patent leather, also a pochette, a bracelet and a purse. Elements that are perfectly at home in the Brillant family. And that was just what the House intended. “Today, Delvaux forms part of Belgium’s heritage,” says the head of studio. “But the House never stops proving how daring it is.”
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Pure luxury Since1829
Delvaux is the oldest fine leather luxury goods company in the world. The House was founded in 1829 in Brussels and, to this day, stands for top quality craftsmanship. This is a story about a phenomenon called real luxury. What does luxury mean? Put the question to many entrepreneurs and they would say, ‘time’. Time to spend with your family, time to do things with your children that there is otherwise never time for. When asked the question Jean-Paul Gaultier said that, to him, luxury was his pencil. Because he had used that pencil to design all his successful collections. Luxury is a word that has been debased over the years. Luxury has become synonymous with ‘look at me!’. With logos without substance, with recognition, with something that everyone can now obtain. With much that is ubiquitous. With the disposable.
In the past it was different. Luxury was something exclusive. Something that was rare. Something one had to save for. Something that was handcrafted. Something one had to wait for because it took its time. Often it was something that was made for you and you alone. At Delvaux, luxury has never been debased. Luxury is still written with a capital ‘L’. That was already the case in 1829 when Charles Delvaux built a display window on the front of his Brussels studio and allowed people to admire his leather travel bags. This meant that a lot of lovers of quality could see the craftsmanship in his work. In 1883, the House Delvaux became a warrant holder to the Court of Belgium. This gave the House status, but for those behind the scenes, it was first and foremost proof that they were on the right course. In 1898, the House patented its first model, the Edison trunk. A groundbreaking move, it would seem. With this success, the range was widened further: trunks, suitcases, boxes, travel accessories, etc. From 1939, the range was joined by women’s handbags. All manufactured according to the same principles: craftsmanship, know-how and time.
At Delvaux, Luxury is a many-faceted word. Luxury is an opportunity given to people. Designers are able to develop their creations to the full. They have discussions with craftsmen in the studio about how to achieve the best design. And the bar is raised even higher. They never settle for anything less. Luxury is Quality of the highest order. Beginning with the design itself. A creation where everything is carefully considered. A design that is made in the House’s own studios and is given the time required for that. Every Delvaux bag, every Delvaux accessory is watched over by a master craftsman, and that often takes hours. But that is as it should be. Luxury is Service when you purchase. When anyone enters a Delvaux shop, they immediately feel at home in a spacious, refined environment, with people who know what they are talking about. With shop staff who are trained to be able to answer every question. Shop staff who know all about the different leathers and who advise. Never impose.
Luxury is Service after sale. Anyone who buys a Delvaux bag or accessory can take it back to the shop years later to have it rejuvenated. The leather is revived. Small scratches are made less visible. And, where possible, clasps, locks or handles renewed. This Service is highly appreciated, certainly by loyal customers who regularly have their bags renovated, entrusting them to a master craftsman and once again enjoying a bag that feels like new. Luxury is also leather goods. Bespoke. The exact creation you wanted. Made to your measurements. To your desires. In your colours. You can make an appointment to discuss each design with a master craftsman. This bespoke service is carried out in the Delvaux studio in Brussels, at the Arsenal. Luxury is coming home and cherishing your creation. Knowing that you have bought no mere bag. Realising that this creation will last for years to come, and so transcends fashion.
In an era when the world has shrunk dramatically and innovative high technology is taking precedence, it seems as if luxury has been left behind. Quite the contrary. The real luxury Houses, and they are few and far between, are not panicked by the latest hype or the latest fashion. They refine the craftsmanship further and also build on their know-how by introducing dedicated young talents into their teams. They carry the message of craft techniques, often from father to son. Real luxury Houses are at one with their time. Their designs fit seamlessly into an era in which everything moves swiftly. Creations that hamper men and women in their everyday lives are unacceptable. Better still, it’s a luxury that these creations feel as if they’ve always been there.
Luxury is timelessness, certainly at Delvaux.
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Did you say gift? An increasing number of small leather goods are finding their way into the Delvaux collections. Wallets and purses, key-rings and belts, all of which fit seamlessly into the main body of the collection and are made from the same leathers.
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For the coming Autumn/Winter 2008/09 season, a wider range of small leather goods has been developed, which complement the House’s bag range beautifully. The selection is particularly enticing: a Brillant belt, a small clutch bag or Louise key-ring, a ‘D’ pochette, or a bracelet from the Astrid family. “The collection of small leather goods grows each season,” says Catherine Dejace, leather goods product manager at the House Delvaux. “We lavish a lot of care on these items because they fit beautifully with the larger pieces in the collection and carry the same House values. Furthermore, these leather goods complete the range of products in the different families in the Delvaux collection.”
In the past few years, you could even speak about bestsellers: the Louise wallets for example, as well as the Eugène wallet and the Dinar/Dirham range. “For many new customers, women as well as men, the small leather goods are their first acquaintance with the House Delvaux. Their affordable price makes these products an ideal entry point to the range, which explains the huge success of our key-rings and ‘D’ pochettes. Even our small leather goods have their own icons!”
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I DELVAUX David Wouters is a rather exceptional Delvaux fan. He doesn’t wear Delvaux, he collects them. His collection currently comprises some 170 items. “I prefer the older, more anonymous Delvaux bags,” says David. This is a portrait of a connoisseur and his collection.
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“It all started about fifteen years ago. I was rooting around in a girlfriend’s shop in Brussels, when I saw a handbag that I thought looked really cool. It turned out to be a Caravelle by Delvaux. I paid 500 Belgian Francs (equivalent to €12.50) for it and now I have the same bag in three colours.” We’re in David Wouters’ attic, a 35-year old man from Lummen in Belgian Limburg. This is where he houses his different collections: old Vogue magazines, couture clothes by Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Gerald Watelet and Louis Miesse, ties (“Over two thousand of them.”), women’s shoes, fashion books and, naturally, his Delvaux collection. While he talks, David walks from cabinet to cabinet and quietly reveals more about his collection. It’s a veritable gold mine that one can linger over for hours! “I’ve never spent a fortune on my collection,” says David, although later in the conversation he remembers spending 20,000 Belgian Francs (€500) on a Dior ball gown without a second thought. “I’ve always collected simply for the pleasure of collecting. In the beginning I visited the Spullenhulp (Petit Riens) charity shop in Brussels regularly. I worked in the area for a while and used to go there every lunchtime. It was like a home from home,” laughs David... “Later, I discovered Les Enfants d’Edouard, another Brussels shop where I regularly found interesting stuff. Today, both these shops have got a bit more expensive, but in the past I found famous labels there going for a song. I bought certain Delvaux bags for just ten or twenty euro. Sometimes at real bargain basement prices. Today, it’s somewhat different. Even in the Vossenplein (Place du Jeu de Balle) flea market, they’ll say, ‘but look, it’s a Delvaux!’. And then they have a price tag of €65 or more, even if the handbag is worn out or badly damaged.” David also regularly buys on eBay, where, amongst other things, he found a Delvaux beauty case. “The Delvaux items you find on eBay are usually from Belgian sellers. On the site, Delvaux really is a Belgian product made by and for Belgians,” smiles David.
David collects out of pure desire. Sometimes just one example, sometimes twelve at a time, just like the time he didn’t really know what to leave behind and then decided to take everything! Once he’d collected about a hundred Delvaux bags, David started to photograph and catalogue them. He sent the photos to Delvaux’s headquarters in the Arsenal where the bags were individually dated and identified by their model names. David’s collection thus became more influential. What does he himself think about Delvaux? “I love Delvaux because it’s a local, handcrafted product and therefore has an unbelievable prestige. There’s an amazing exclusive aura around Delvaux that few other labels have. Delvaux bags are unique. I can even see differences between bags of the same model. That’s how you can see that you’re not talking about mass production.” He picks up a bag. “Look, at first sight it’s a really simple bag. But when you open it, you see it’s also beautifully finished inside. Sometimes in leather, sometimes fabric, sometimes velvet. Fantastic. What interests me most are the older models. The models where it’s harder to see that they’re from Delvaux. The smart models from the sixties, for example. Or the Brillant from 1958. Yes, the Brillant is my absolute favourite. That’s a part of my collection I would never, ever want to lose.” David goes to yet another cabinet and, one by one, takes out his Brillants. He has eleven in total, including a pair of small bags and a pair of large bags. Beautiful in lived-in beige, one in a striking dark blue with a jaunty tricolour band around the base. “It would be a dream to have certain bags repaired, but even polishing the leather already costs a tidy sum. Not that it’s a single euro too much, because what Delvaux charges for repair is totally justified.”
details. In the handle, the clasp and even in the ‘D’ sometimes.” He goes to another cabinet and produces some more older genuine examples. He reels off the model names and effortlessly conjures up the date. He shows off a crocodile leather bag that is probably the most expensive in his collection. This is a real connoisseur. Is his the only collection? In other words, are there many other Delvaux collectors? David doesn’t know. “I have to say that I haven’t come across any, on the other hand, I haven’t looked for any either. I have swapped two of my Delvaux bags for five of a former colleague’s. But that was a woman who also wore her bags. She really wanted certain items from my collection.” “My Delvaux collection is my Prozac,” says David. “Don’t for a moment imagine that I lend them out or that girlfriends can come and spend an evening poking around in here. No, I want to keep the collection together and my greatest pleasure is to look after it. If I’m feeling down, I come up here to the attic. I look at my recent purchases or take out particular items, and my blues immediately disappear.” David knows that he has to downsize. His collections have become so large that they’ll soon outgrow his attic. “I’ll keep buying the Brillant. That’s for sure. To be completely honest, I have my eye on a grey one. It’s reserved for me. That will take my collection of Brillants to twelve. Probably next week,” says David, raising his eyebrows.
Handbags from other luxury labels hold no interest for David. “Besides, nine out of ten on offer are fakes. That’s also what worries me a little about the future, you can now find counterfeit versions of some of the more recent Delvaux bags. This is how I spot them. You can tell a fake Delvaux by the sloppy finishing of the delvaux.com | 69
THE MAKING OF THE AUTUMN/WINTER CAMPAIGN 08/09 Paris, 9 January 2008 photographer: Tierney Gearon model: Lousie Pedersen styling: Charles Varenne art direction: Didier Vervaeren & Works
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The Delvaux Autumn/Winter 2008/09 advertising campaign displays a genuinely contemporary vision in terms of photography, visual culture, models and locations. The brief was simple and, therefore, not easy. Create a campaign that speaks to women of today. Women who are more emancipated, who have a more modern look, who exude more glamour, and who, above all, go through life unembarrassed. They are independent, free, natural, even if they have the pressure of children, friends or the man in their lives. Delvaux set a tough challenge which is why the House called on the industry’s top players. The ad agency? Works, a young Parisian agency that focuses on the
fashion industry and creates tailormade work with each individual client. Works personalises, just like Delvaux. Works knows the fashion world inside out, just like Delvaux. Works is a creative specialist, just like Delvaux. The photographer? Tierney Gearon. A name that rings more than the proverbial bell in artistic circles. Gearon exhibited her ‘I am A camera’ work in the famous Saatchi gallery in London in the spring of 2001 and has since outgrown her newcomer status. This American photographer was born in Atlanta, but was discovered in Paris. She soon worked for titles such as Vogue and W. In recent years, she has focused mainly on more artistic work. Life springs out of her work, with a real feel for surrealism and emotion.
The model? Top model Louise Pedersen is often described as quiet yet sexy. Her career really took off after she did a catwalk show and a campaign for prestigious luxury brands. She was photographed on several occasions by Mario Testino. Pedersen grew up in the Danish countryside and was discovered on a train by a talent scout. A scant few years after her first photographic work, Pedersen was working for the major fashion Houses in Milan and Paris. In between, she lives in New York and chooses her assignments carefully. Her passion, apart from modelling? Painting, playing the guitar and horse riding. Easier in Denmark than in New York of course.
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FAQs Is the House Delvaux a family business? The company is owned by the Schwennicke family. Franz Schwennicke bought the House from Edmond Delvaux in 1933. At the time it was located on Boulevard Adolphe Max. The House opened a second shop in 1938 at the top end of town on Avenue de la Toison D’Or when it was still just a residential avenue. When Franz Schwennicke died in 1970, his widow, Solange, took over the business and developed it further. Her son François Schwennicke succeeded her in 1994, and looks after the fortunes of the House in collaboration with Christian Salez, who has held the post of Chief Executive Officer since 2007. The SRIB (Société Régionale d’Investissement de Bruxelles - Brussels Regional Investment Company) is also a partner in the company.
Is the House Delvaux Belgian? Delvaux was founded in Brussels by Charles Delvaux in 1829, a year before the creation of the Belgian state. Its heartquarters have always been located in the capital, now more specifically in the Arsenal. Since 1883, Delvaux has been a warrant holder to the
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Court of Belgium. In 2009, the House will celebrate its 180th anniversary. Delvaux is the oldest fine leather luxury goods company in the world.
How are Delvaux products made? All Delvaux products are designed at the Arsenal in Brussels, as a collaborative effort between the design studio and the research department, staffed by extremely experienced craftsmen. The leather items are always made from hides of the very highest quality. Their production is divided between the Delvaux studios in Brussels and in Bourg-Argental in the Rhône-Alpes region of France. Since 2006, they have been supplemented by a pilot project in Romania and another in Spain in order to offer a more accessible range of products, while preserving the same quality of materials and finishing. It will be three to four years before these studios are fully operational. Scarves and textiles are made in France and Italy, as are the jewellery collections.
Are Delvaux products really handmade? Not only is every product made by hand, but also by using traditional
leatherworking techniques handed down from generation to generation. An almost unique manufacturing technique these days, one which gives true craftsmanship status and which our craftsmen undertake in making up an entire object (with the exception of the cutting and stitching). So there is no assembly line; this guarantees that the idiosyncrasies of each leather are taken into account during manufacture, allowing far more complex as well as personalised finishes for those customers who request them. Many of the tools which the craftsmen use, they have made by hand themselves. This all contributes to the House Delvaux’s place at the very pinnacle in fine leather luxury goods.
How are the Delvaux collections designed? In 1938, Delvaux became the first company to introduce the idea of Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer collections to the leather goods market. Since them, without a break, the Delvaux studio has developed new creations each season: new leathers or colours for existing models, new functions or formats for an existing family (the Brillant XS for example) or original creations which form the
starting point for a new family which will expand over the following seasons. This unique approach has allowed the House to amass a heritage of close to 3,000 original creations, recorded in the Gold Books. Today, the House has 1,000 bags in its Museum. This philosophy of creation and production also allows us to guarantee each customer that, with the exception of a few bestsellers which have stood the test of time, each item is one of an extremely limited edition.
Can I order a bespoke item from Delvaux? The studios at the Arsenal in Brussels have always created tailor-made items. A wallet in a specific format that the customer can no longer find on sale, an attaché case or briefcase with an interior arranged to meet specific requirements, or even upholstery for furniture or loudspeakers, to give but a few examples. The imagination and know-how of our craftsmen know no limits in the quest to satisfy highly demanding customers who have the means to finance these orders which often require many hours of design and hand-crafting.
Who is the typical Delvaux customer? It is impossible to distil the customers to a single type of person because each one is different. The young girl of 18 who has been given her first Delvaux by her parents or grandparents, friends who want to celebrate an important occasion with one of their circle, a woman who wants to complete her outfit with an original accessory, a young executive investing in his first attaché case, a man who treasures his Newspaper Bag, or even a lover who wishes to give the light of his life an unforgettable gift, sometimes even after 30 years of marriage... Nevertheless, there is one common factor: the desire to give or to treat oneself to an original, elegant product of the highest quality. In general, it’s an approach linked to very high personal standards which typifies the Delvaux customer, rather than a desire to show off.
in Brussels (Boulevard de Waterloo), Antwerpen (Komedieplaats) and in Knokke-Het-Zoute (Kustlaan). The other shops can be found in Kortrijk, Leuven, Brugge, Oostende, Hasselt, Gent, Liège, Namur, Sint-Niklaas, Tournai and Waterloo. There is also a Delvaux sky shop at Zaventem airport. Delvaux products are also sold in Moscow and in Japan. From November 2008, a selection of Delvaux products will be sold through the online shop at www.delvaux.com.
Where can I go if my bag needs repair? You can take any Delvaux products which need repair or renovation into any Delvaux shop. Our sales staff will be able to tell you how much the work will cost, and will keep you informed about the timing. Delvaux is very proud of its after-sales service and we believe you will be delighted by what it can offer.
Where can I buy Delvaux products? In Belgium, Delvaux products are sold exclusively in our own shops. There are sixteen in total, including ten of our own shops and six franchise holders. There are three flagship stores
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WHERE TO FIND DELVAUX BELGIUM
Brussels Blvd de Waterloolaan 27 1000 Bruxelles / Brussel +32 2 513 05 02
Moscow Winzavod – Building 1, Street 6 4th Syromyatnicheskii per. 105120 Moscow +7 49 52 23 41 11
Galerie de la Reine / Koninginnegalerij 31 1000 Bruxelles / Brussel +32 2 512 71 98 Antwerpen Komedieplaats 17 2000 Antwerpen +32 3 232 02 47 Brugge Breidelstraat 2 8000 Brugge +32 50 49 01 31 Kortrijk Grote Markt 37 8500 Kortrijk +32 56 22 21 96 Knokke-Het-Zoute Kustlaan 148 8300 Knokke-Het-Zoute +32 50 62 45 13 Leuven Bondgenotenlaan 15 3000 Leuven +32 16 22 05 65 Oostende Adolf Buylstraat 23-25 8400 Oostende +32 59 70 12 98 Namur Rue Saint Loup 4 5000 Namur +32 81 22 05 58 Waterloo Chaussée de Bruxelles 167 1410 Waterloo +32 2 354 28 67
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Japan Tokyo Beams House – Marunouchi Bldg. 1F, 2-4-1, Marunouchi, Chuo-Ku, 100-6301 Tokyo +81 3 5220 8686 Takashimaya – 2-4-1, Nihonbashi, Chuo-Ku, 103-8265 Tokyo +81 3 3211 4111 Mitsukoshi – 1-4-1, Nihonbashi-Muromachi, Chuo-Ku, 103-8001 Tokyo +81 3 3247 8430 Wako – 4-5-11, Ginza, Chuo-Ku, 104-0061 Tokyo +81 3 3562 2111 Isetan – 3-14-1, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-Ku, 160-0022 Tokyo +81 3 3225 2563 International Gallery Beams B1F, 3-25-15, Jingumae, Shibuya-Ku, 150-0001 Tokyo +81 3 3470 3925 United Arrows – 2-31-12, Jingumae, Shibuya-Ku 150-0001 Tokyo +81 3 3479 8115
Osaka Wako Osaka – Hotel Nikko 1F, 1-3-3 Nishi-Shinsaibashi, Chuo-Ku, 542-0086 Osaka +81 6 6245 0666 Minami Goto – Hotel New Otani 1F, 1-4-1, Shiromi, Chuo-Ku, 540-001 Osaka +81 6 6949 0750 Fukuoka Beams South – 1-14-10, Daimyou, Chuo-Ku, 810-0041 Fukuoka +81 9 2724 8865
FRANCHISE HOLDERS Gent Koophandelsplein 1 9000 Gent +32 9 225 15 80 Hasselt Kapelstraat 29 3500 Hasselt +32 11 22 22 41 Liège Passage Lemonnier 44 4000 Liège +32 4 221 38 40 Sint-Niklaas Stationsstraat 90-96 9100 Sint-Niklaas +32 3 780 79 40 Tournai Rue Tête d’Argent 4 7500 Tournai +32 69 22 55 55 Zaventem Brussels National Airport Terminal B 1930 Zaventem +32 2 735 22 99
delvaux.com Roma – Bridon, Aniline finish calf – 100 examples / Covent Garden – Santiag, Nubuck finish calf – 250 examples
Published on Mar 25, 2010
Bi-annual magazine we did for 'the oldest fine leather goods copany in the world' Delvaux. ART DIRECTION/TYPOGRAPHY/GRAPHIC DESIGN/