Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Habitually Chic Designer: Hervé Van der Straeten


I don't even know where to begin to describe Hervé Van der Straeten. He's a furniture designer, a galerie owner, a jewelry maker, a lipstick case and perfume bottle creator, and the life partner to another habitually chic Frenchman, Bruno Frisoni, the designer behind Roger Vivier. I'm sure I've left something out but you get the idea.


I thought Hervé Van der Straeten started out originally as a furniture designer. He's friends with my boss and we buy from him often so when I walked past a display case of his jewelry at Bergdorf Goodman recently I thought he had just gotten into jewelry design but it turns out that's where he got his start. He used to create jewelry for YSL and Christian Lacroix after he dropped out of studing engineering at the the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. I was afraid to check the prices but it turns out they're pretty reasonable since they are either silver or 24k gold vermeil and not actually solid gold. The most expensive piece is a necklace for $1200 but there are a lot of earrings and and bracelets in the $150 to $250 range. Perfect for the holidays!

He and Bruno Frisoni, see below, also have a fabulous sunny apartment near the Bastille in Paris that is part of a complex that used to be a furniture factory. How apropos! I have no idea how to post a video, believe me, I tried but Interieurs online has a wonderful tour of it. You can see that they have moved things around from the photo above including the couch. But then again, don't all true design obsessed people do that? The photo of Bruno Frisoni below was taken in the same room for the House and Garden Tastemakers issue this year.

Bruno Frisoni not only designs his own fantastic eponymous line of shoes but he also designs for Roger Vivier and of course, he asked Van der Straeten to create the furniture for the Roger Vivier boutiques, which are modeled after Vivier's own home, and were designed by Vudafieri Partners. The furniture includes his signature stool - "a podlike seat that can be left gleamingly metallic or encased in lacquers that give it the look of a giant candy," and also an amazing zig zag console done in wood with pitted metal accents in the front window of the shop that is my favorite!

The best part of Hervé Van der Straeten is that he respects the craft and the craftsmen who make his designs. "He oversees a team of precision craftsmen who toil only on his creations. Centralization is an uncommon luxury these days; many designers often lug furniture around to a series of independent artisans."

"You have to have everything together like that, all the craftsmen under one roof, otherwise you will go crazy," Mr. Van der Straeten said at his loft-like showroom in the Marais, where bizarre gilt-bronze chandeliers hang from the ceiling like immense pendants. "You can't control the quality unless you have your own workshop." Nor, it seems, can you be nearly as creative as you would like to be. "

And if that's not enough to impress you, he was commissioned by Guerlain a few years back to design the sculpted gold case for their Kiss Kiss line of lipsticks, as well as the jewel-like compact for foundation. Olivier Echaudemaison, the artistic director of the company's cosmetics division, said he wanted "Hervé to make a lipstick case that is so beautiful that when a woman pulls it out of her bag, her friends will become jealous. You can't ask the average product designer to do that." And I'd say he succeeded. I love the juxtaposition of the modern design with the vintage script for the name.

Today, Hervé van der Straeten is one of the leaders of the design world and his showroom on the Rue Ferdinand Duval, exhibits a collection of 25-30 objects each year, most produced as limited editions. I'm left wondering what he will think up next but until we find out, I'm putting some of his earrings on my wish list. It's probably one of his only designs I can afford! Well, that and the lipsticks. I may have run over to Bergdorf's and get some of those too!

20 comments:

Sarah Dennis said...

HC love this post! Thanks for the information on Hervé Van der Straeten and Bruno Frisoni, they are a force to be reckoned with!

I always feel like I'm getting the "inside scoop" when I visit. You keep a girl in the know and I love that!

OMG, is that a skull I see?!?! And just when you thought the skull and crossbone design motif had no staying power you just start seeing them everywhere.

Even on the table - http://toastandtables.blogspot.com/2007/10/no-bones-about-it-tableware-items-with.html

Suzy said...

I love his work - thanks for a wonderful post. I didn't know he did jewellery either.. I've only seen furniture and lighting so far...

Brilliant Asylum said...

So much talent among these two. This was such an interesting read.

RJH dl H said...

HC,another great post,such talented gentlemen.

Where did you get your wonderful writing style from?My guess is that you are just naturalley gifted in more ways than one!

Alice Olive said...

Great post! I guess when one is blessed with creativity, it shows through in everything. The jewellery is beautiful and I agree that lipstick case would inspire jealousy (infact I'm going to have to hunt one down....)

Habitually Chic said...

Sarah, So glad you enjoyed the post. I will have to check out your blog today!

Habitually Chic said...

Suzy, I am going to have to link it but you can check out his jewelry online at Vivre and a few other retailers. It really is surprisingly reasonable too!

Habitually Chic said...

BA, I think it was only natural that two ridiculously talented designers would end up together. Just think about what they must talk about everyday! So inspiring!

Habitually Chic said...

RJH dl H, You're so sweet! I've discovered that I love writing now! I took a lot of English and Literature classes in addition to art history so I guess some of it rubbed off. I have also been told that I tell a great story so it's been fun to write them down! So glad you enjoy them now too!

Habitually Chic said...

Alice Olive, I am definitely buying a lipstick today too! It's the least I can do to support such a wonderful designer!

Style Court said...

Heather, great post! So comprehensive.

RJH dl H said...

HC,those were always two of my favorite classes as well!

A host or hostess always appreciates a great raconteur at parites or dinners.

They say that nothing wins friends more easily than a good story!

Richie Designs said...

I agree fab story...I always know I can find something unique here that no one else has told yet on the web. keep up the fab work.

Habitually Chic said...

Richie Designs, thanks for the compliment! It's very hard to come up with new and original posts everyday but it's also fun trying!

Laura said...

What a great post! Sounds like those two are meant to be.

Mrs. Blandings said...

Wonderful post - and wouldn't you know, of all the offerings, I want the sketch in the last picture. I think I need to take and art class.

Jane Flanagan said...

I love this post so much. And you can absolutely have the earrings, if I can have this mirror: http://seenandsaid.blogspot.com/2007/06/mirror-mirror.html

designdna said...

i love these little biographies you post. always very interesting.

Shiong Tan said...

i've just recently acquired a selection of his furniture pieces. they really are the gems in the room. i used to live in nyc, but now have moved to hong kong. very talented in deed.

Alorinna said...

I saw one of his chandeliers. Amazing work!

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