Saturday, 12 April 2014

Delvaux for Velour magazine April 2013

The coveted ‘Brilliant’ bag (correctly named) is a Delvaux signature constructed of sixty-four different pieces of leather complete with 24-carat gold-plated hardware. Today it is produced in the exact same painstaking way, as it was when it marked its debut at the Brussels World Fair in 1958. Since then nothing has changed about the iconic classic with the finishing on the outside being just as impeccable on the inside. This is the kind of perfection that the Belgian house has consistently strived for having no problem at all with producing items that possess longevity.

Hailing from Belgium, quietly iconic Delvaux is the oldest fine luxury leather goods manufacturer in the world and is an integral yet hidden gem of the industry. Ahead of its time preceding the more famous Parisian houses namely Hermès and Louis Vuitton that arrived a decade after, Delvaux is older than Belgium itself, born in 1829 just a year before the country became a constitutional monarchy. Despite it’s age, Delvaux is still conceptual in its innovation where timelessness meets the sculptural art form of crafting the most sought after skins.  

When Charles Delvaux took a likening to making travel trunks, the brands admiration across Belgium ensured that the future of the luxury house was secured in becoming a warrant holder to the court of Belgium in 1883. Here it would continue to supply steamer trunks and luggage to the Royal family for many years to come. It was only inevitable that the range would go on to include boxes, suitcases and handbags and later on seasonal collections under the helm of Franz Schwennicke who purchased Delvaux in 1933. For the discerning jet setter, the smell and touch of the individually selected leather is like no other. It should be noted that at Delvaux, there is no room for flaws. Craftsmen will intensely cast their appraising eyes over the leather they are working on to see if there are any defects – like mosquito bites or minor blemishes – as no skin is ever truly perfect. It is these such things that the untrained eye will bypass without ever noticing.

Whether it is the canvas and leather weekend bags from the 1829 Brunos Pieters’ capsule collection or the simplicity of the Madame Delvaux PM bag housed in popular retailers such as Barney’s in New York, this sickening luxury crafted under couture standards has everyone craving a private jet just so they can board with a signature Delvaux luggage piece in hand. Supple and durable calf leathers hail from Italy and France and lay next to exotic skins such as crocodile from Africa as well as lizard and ostrich that reside in the glass walled leather store in Brussels. Certainty is another quality that Delvaux relishes in, and there is no question that hours of intensive manual labour put in by the master craftsman could ever be replaced by modern society’s answer to everything else: machines.

183 years on, the Delvaux aesthetic has continued to revel in its hedonistic style and although the new CEO Marco Probst, previously at Chloè, wishes to extend the brand’s global reach, the heart of Belgium cannot and will not afford to compromise on quality. Nowadays the prestigious Belgian artisan with a rich, traditional history keeps Delvaux modernly relevant with collaborations such as the one with supermodel Hannelore Knuts under its wing. Delvaux is where heritage and quality are a priority over seeking accolades for providing this season’s latest ‘It’ bag amongst the cognoscenti. It is not to be mistaken that the brand lives in it’s past when it simply chooses to prefer and embrace impeccable craftsmanship over ostentatious branding. 

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