There is a chair in the beautiful Delvaux boutique in Paris’s Jardins du Palais Royal, that dates back to the French Revolution. Yet despite its impressive history and fascinating provenance, you could easily imagine it sitting in one of the homes you see in Architectural Digest today. It’s testament to the longevity of good design – and a fitting metaphor for the Delvaux ethos.
If you aren’t familiar with the luxury Belgian brand then it’s time for that to change. Founded in 1829, and official supplier to Belgium’s royal family since 1883, Delvaux was the inventor of the modern handbag (it filed the first ever leather handbag patent in 1908). For nearly 200 years the maison has championed meticulous craftsmanship and uncompromising quality. Its expert artisans – specialists in handling fine leathers – aren’t making accessories, they’re making works of art. Yet despite its illustrious history and heritage, Delvaux is a brand that is utterly at home in 2022. In its appreciation of tradition, it feels thoroughly modern.
As for the designs? The Delvaux aesthetic is as considered, as meticulous, as elevated as its craftsmanship. Note, for instance, the Tempête bags – first created in 1967 and feeling as relevant today as ever. Or see the sleek Lingot crossbody, with its distinctive D hardware, inspired by designs from the 1970s archive. Details are subtle, but striking – colours slightly, deliberately mismatched, fastenings innovative. Unlike the flash-in-the-pan ‘it’ bags that rely on lairy bells-and-whistles to make an impact, Delvaux designs quietly make their presence known. That’s why confident women with nothing to prove, like Beyoncé, Angelina Jolie, Lady Gaga and Rihanna – carry their pieces. If you know, you know. And if you don’t? Well, you should.
This week, Delvaux releases its new collection: Leather Mastery. Taking two of its most iconic designs – the buckled Brillant top-handle bag, first introduced in 1958, and the Pin, a curvy bucket bag that was born in 1972 – the collection captures the maison’s dual interests in looking both to the past and the future. An ode to its exquisite savoir faire, both bags are reinterpreted using the unique Leather D technique, where water jet-cut D panels are painstakingly handsewn together to fluid effect. Elsewhere, the Cool Box utilises the Enlaced technique, where a delicate length of leather ‘lace’ for is wrapped around the bag’s D-shaped buckle.
The dynamic campaign is captured by South African-born photographer Koto Bolofo and stars model, performer, and actress, Lily McMenamy; premiere danseuse of the Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris, Hannah O’Neill; and Nyasha Matonhodze, fashion model and activist. ‘We are at a time when progress and modernity are really strong,’ says Balofo. ‘And what Delvaux showed to me is that it could stand the test of time’.
The Delvaux Leather Mastery collection is available in stores and at uk.delvaux.com now.