Monday, December 13, 2010

Delvaux: 180 Years of Belgian Luxury

it should be 181 years by now. last year, the Belgian luxury leather goods brand, celebrated their 180th year anniversary (yes, they are older than Hermès est. 1837 and Louis Vuitton est. 1854). Delvaux, founded in 1829 by Charles Delvaux as a luggage company at a little Brussels studio. by 1883, Delvaux became the official supplier to the Royal Court of Belgium and was the first to patent a model of bag in 1898. survived through the revolutions, wars and the change of hands, the House of Delvaux has been up holding what is most important to a truly luxury brand - craftsmanship. and because of that, Delvaux has long been the name chosen by the most discerning customers and the royalties. 

exhibition at Antwerp's Mode Museum last year

red is the perennial house color at Delvaux since 1940s

leather cutting tools specific for each Delvaux bag
some are ever created by hand to make the perfect fit

through the rise of success, the brand extended its range to include ladies' handbags in the 20th century and strengthened its craft know-how further to establish itself throughout Europe and later in Japan. to say that a Delvaux bag is a work of art is no overstatement, Delvaux prides themselves for only making original designs in the finest leathers, each bag handmade by the best artisans in house. the intricate creative and production process has changed little in the last seventy years. output of bags remains small. nowadays the Delvaux artisan team consists of 210 skillful craftsman and the production of each bag can take anywhere from 8 - 24 hours to complete. 

King Albert & Queen Paola wearing Delvaux "Le Grand Bonheur" bag, 1959
Queen Paola is still a devotee of Delvaux as she opened the exhibition in 2009

Delvaux Coquin 1950

Delvaux design & artisan team headed by Franz Schwennicke, 1950s

Ateliers Delvaux, 1950

Ateliers Delvaux nowadays, "Het Arsenaal", Brussels

iconic models of Delvaux bags are the "Brillant" and the "Tempête" which are classic investment worthy bags.



the Brilliant, invented in 1958 to celebrate the Expo in Brussels, uses 64 different pieces of leather to make, has been in limited production ever since.

the House of Delvaux believes in the keeping the tradition of high quality craftsmanship passed down from generation to generation, core to the Belgium heritage and values. the brand is also progressive in pushing its designs and image forward to meet the changing needs of their clienteles. so who's better to head up the artistic direction of the prestigious Belgian brand than the renowned Belgian designer Veronique Branquinho? Branquinho fits right into the vision of the House of understated elegance, injecting newness and character to classic models with clean lines in exquisite leathers and exotic skins. 

Delvaux by Veronique Branquinho, FW 2010

some interesting facts of Delvaux you may or may not know:

  • Delvaux has collaborated with Bruno Pieters, Chanel designer Laetitia Crahay, model Hannelore Knuts in recent years
  • more than 2500 different models of bags have been produced to date.
  • every monday, friday and saturday, a Delvaux craftsman will be on hand for customers at the Antwerp and Brussels shops to answer technical questions about the products.
  • Martin Margiela designed a bag for Delvaux in 1983 when he was still a student
  • Delvaux collaborated with Scabal, the Belgian luxury house of menswear and suits, to create bespoke design for their VIPs - "No12 by Scabal & Delvaux". models in FW2010 presentation wore Scabal suits.
  • Delvaux produced exclusively for Moncole in woven Toile de Cuir the Monocle x Delvaux newspaper bag
  • interesting furniture collaboration: Delvaux x Stefan Schöning folder chair
  • Delvaux opened their first atelier outside of Belgium this year in Vietnam. quality control is kept at its highest nonetheless. classic models of Brilliant and Tempête and the main lines are still produced in Belgium. 

my vintage Gibus

vintage large Brilliant briefcase

outside of Europe, Delvaux is now available in the US @ Barneys and in HK @ Maria Luisa.

Delvaux can be purchased online at its e-shop: Delvaux e-shop

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