Lalique French crystal: the perfect wedding gift
It is known that in his work Rene Lalique liked to refer to three F: Femme, Flore, Faune – women, flowers, animals. Last year marked the 130th anniversary of the day when he began his creative activity. Roger Van Der Veit, President of Lalique, told us about the brand and wedding gifts.
The quality of the legendary Lalique products has an impeccable reputation. Are all of them still made only in France?
– All Lalique products are manufactured in our only factory in the Alsace region, France. A special engraving is applied to each genuine product at the final stage of control at the factory. If there is no engraving, then this is a fake. We are independently engaged in the sale and distribution of products, or, as in the case of Russia, we cooperate with exclusive partners. For example, Mercury.
In Russia, the brand is famous primarily for its wedding gifts; many couples, dreaming of getting something from Lalique, add them to their wishlist. What are the trends for wedding gifts now in Europe and the USA?
– The tradition of making wishlist has been popular in the world since the days of my grandparents. But in those days, young people did not live together before marriage, and thus immediately after the wedding they did not even have an elementary set of basic dishes. Modern couples, as a rule, live together by the time of the wedding, therefore, when compiling a list of gifts, they already think about something more exclusive, luxurious, which is not necessarily an essential item, but has a purely aesthetic component. Lalique is the most popular brand for wishlist Wedding by Mercury in Russia. Personally, I do not know a single woman who would remain indifferent to Lalique vases, many of them are really just works of art. In the American and European markets, there are two main directions: gifts for guests in the form of small products, which are convenient to add engraving with the names of the newlyweds, or gifts for the bride and groom. In this segment, the legendary Bacchantes vases, products with animals, crystal dishes, in general, Lalique branded items are especially popular.
Maybe you have had some crazy stories in practice, when the customer wanted 200 pieces of some product from Lalique or something like that at once?
– Oh yeah. Here, take a look at this thing (shows the product). For example, you can put a small candle in it and decorate the table. Once we ordered about 300 of them. But this is not the most expensive of our products, so it is still nothing.
I had to order them in advance, it is unlikely that there are such quantities in any store …
– Quite right. Once we were ordered small things for an Indian wedding, which had 800-1000 invited guests.
What do you think is the perfect wedding gift?
– There is no perfect gift, as this question depends entirely on your budget. If it were, for example, the wedding of my male friend, I would choose for him a set of wine glasses, if he loves it. And if I was choosing a gift for a woman, I would prefer something more feminine, for example, a scented candle. When the candle burns out, you can use the container as a vase. There cannot be one ideal option, it all depends on what a particular person likes.
Did you talk about the list of wedding gifts, how it works in Europe now? Is there a similar option in Lalique boutiques or can it be done online?
– In the 21st century, any option is possible. In the past, you would need to go to the store to check out your wish list. But now most of my friends prefer to do it online. They create their own website for the wedding or use the services of a store that provides this opportunity online. Also, for example, you can order an engraving on a specific product for the wedding day. Such requests come in very often and are easy to fulfill. We also make engravings on birthday or anniversary gifts.
If I order a similar service in Russia, will it be performed here or in France?
– Everything is individual. We do most of the work in France, but if someone comes to TSUM, for example, and requests such a service, we will try to provide it. We usually recommend this order: we take a new copy from our production, engrave and then send it to the customer. If the desired product is available, then engraving is a matter of literally ten minutes. If you need to ship to Russia, it takes about two days. If the text is written in Russian, then first we make test samples, coordinate them with the customer and then send them. This is plus a couple more days.
Tell us about your collaboration with Damien Hirst or Agnieszka Hopkowicz. How did you work with them?
“It was a great honor for us that they agreed to cooperate with us. Neither Damien nor Agnieszka have ever worked with crystal as a material. We gave them complete creative freedom, the restrictions concerned only the technical possibilities of working with crystal. Despite the fact that crystal can be shaped into almost any shape, there are limitations, for example, on the size of the product. Both artists have a huge talent for creators, and we wanted them to have the opportunity to express themselves. Therefore, we were not going to dictate to them what to do, it would be absolutely pointless.
They came up with a sketch, and have you already produced a product?
– In the case of Damien Hirst, we re-released his famous works, which he performed in other materials – for example, “Medusa Gorgon”. He worked with plastic, metal, bronze and was interested in Lalique’s collaboration because he had never worked with crystal. But if you look at the collaboration with Zaha Hadid, you will see that this is a completely different case. She sketched it first. Zaha did not take as a basis any of the existing creations or designs. She came to the factory, saw how we work, and then created the design in her own recognizable manner. And this is surprising, because when you look at the product, you immediately recognize the hand of Zaha Hadid. Another example is a collaboration with Terry Rogers, an American pluralist artist. He examined our vases from the Bacchantes collection, in particular the one with nine women, and made a contemporary interpretation of it. To do this, he came to the factory and personally worked with the material. Each artist has a different approach. We are glad that we managed to work with them without putting any restrictions, except technical ones.
Photo: press materials.