“Love at first sight”. That’s how I’d describe my experience with Delvaux.
This beautiful house was created in 1829, which makes it the oldest fine leather goods house in the world and one of Belgium’s national jewels.
The Parisian woman often calls Delvaux the Belgian equivalent to Hermès. The informed Parisian woman keeps quiet as she raises a graceful eyebrow.
To be perfectly honest, the two houses don’t have much in common, except for the fact that they’ve both come to be known as national treasures, one in France and the other in Belgium.
Delvaux’s story is one of creativity and ‘Belgianness’.
Creativity was key when the house opened, when it had to accompany women whose lifestyles were no longer compatible with little satchels but who did not yet know about their future ally: the handbag.
Creativity is still crucial today and Delvaux uses this to avoid the pitfall of the archetypal historical house that never innovates and lives off past glory, archives and status. Its strength is in its ability to revisit classic models with a modern twist. The house’s artistic director, the savvy, bubbly Christina Zeller, uses her talent on all types of leathers, colors, materials and shapes to create pieces which are both cutting edge and timeless, pieces that will be handed down from generation to generation.
“Belgianness” is also an essential term here. Indeed, Delvaux is incredibly proud of its nationality and enjoys subtly winking at Belgium’s artistic and surrealist heritage from time to time. A prime example is the inscription “This is not a Delvaux” on their signature handbag, the ‘Brilliant’, which is a reference to Magritte’s famous “This is not a pipe”: a way of honoring Belgian culture without ever taking itself too seriously. It’s a winning combo that could only conquer me.
Iconic Brillant handbag
I also say “Belgianness” because of the house’s real human warmth. Delvaux treats its customers with real care, attention and individuality. That, in my opinion, is the secret ingredient to true luxury: immense quality combined with a moment of warmth, humanity and interaction. When it comes to luxury, I find that the snobbish iciness that some houses treat their clients with ruins the whole process of sharing passion for beauty, the whole pleasure that comes with buying something truly beautiful.
Delvaux is the exact contrary of icy or snobbish. Beyond the fact that the spaces in which you are welcomed are absolutely splendid, every detail is thought so as to make the client feel at home.
I admire this house for preserving its integrity no matter what and refusing to indulge in any kind of intensive production, which would inevitably impact the quality of its creations. The result is impeccable quality, flawless leather pieces which are 100% handmade (for a guided visit of the Brussels workshop, it’s here and it’s wonderful).
I also admire the fact that this lovely house is planning on a measured expansion that won’t take away from its confidential connotation, because the people at Delvaux know that we don’t like seeing our favorite bag at every other person’s arm, do we? That’s probably why the Parisian boutique is in Palais-Royal: you don’t just stumble upon Delvaux, you go to Delvaux’s.
See? Nothing to do with Hermès, after all…
October 4, 2018
Tempête handbag with the Crête strap