You may be familiar with Fauré Le Page but did you know that this luxury bags and accessories maker used to make firearms? Here to open the historic maison’s first Southeast Asian outpost, General Manager and Creative Director Augustin De Buffévent tells us more.
1. A room with a view
Imagine Fauré Le Page as a mansion with its nine boutiques as individual rooms all over the world. “We have a different concept and a specific ambience for each store. We have a hunting lodge in Taipei, a dining room in Seoul and now, a garden pavilion in Singapore’s Ngee Ann City. Who knows where we will have the bedroom, the kitchen, the library…?” teases De Buffévent.
2. The Garden City
De Buffévent pays homage to Singapore’s beloved moniker, The Garden City, through the store design. “It’s a dialogue between Paris and Singapore, between two cultures, mixed with a bit of history. Showcased here is a collection of ceramic parrots from the 18th to 19th century,” points out De Buffévent, who personally bought the ornaments from auction houses, specially for the Singapore boutique.
“The parrots come from France, Germany and Portugal. They are all different but the proportions are similar. It’s like a big family. It gives a lot of life to the store.”
The ceiling was painted by a pair of local artists. Greeting visitors are vibrant orchids, which are closely tied to Singapore’s identity and so loved by De Buffévent that he dedicated a medal to it. “I think the combination of Paris-meets-Singapore makes Fauré Le Page so inviting. It’s how I want to welcome all our guests. I want them to feel at home.”
3. Do the honours
Just as how warriors in the past were awarded medals for their achievements on the battlefield, Fauré Le Page empowers you to reward yourself. Form your initials or meaningful words with your chosen medals displaying individual alphabet letters, or pick your favourite Order of Seduction from nine symbols, such as the Order of the Coup de Tête dedicated to tenacious lovers.
De Buffévent had spent a lot of time designing each medal. All of them make him smile. He has also co-written a little blue book profiling the medals. “I love it when someone steps into the store and I ask, ‘Tell me your love story and I will tell you which medal you deserve.’”
The bandolier, which is a military shoulder belt with loops to keep ammunition within reach, is now used as a design feature for pinning the medals.
4. Count yourself lucky
Among all the numerals, only “7” has an arrow on the medal. It is De Buffévent’s lucky number, as well as Fauré Le Page’s. Its significance is rooted in the heritage maison’s founding year of 1717, which is a magical number in a sense – 1+7+1+7 sums up to 16, while 1+6 adds up to 7.
De Buffévent slips the numbers “7” and “17” often onto the bags, but it’s very discreet. For instance, he points out the 17 adjustment holes on the strap of the Daily Battle tote. On every seventh stripe on the Écailles (“scales” in French) motif, and every seventh scale, you will encounter scales with either the words “Fauré Le Page” or “Paris 1717”.
5. Take cover
A Fauré Le Page symbol, according to De Buffévent, the Écailles is also a historic symbol of strength as well as seduction. Dating back to ancient times, the first armours made for Roman soldiers and samurai warriors were inspired by animals, and composed of pieces of leather or metal linked to create a second skin. Also, many of ancient mythology’s fantastic beasts and bewitching creatures are covered in scales. “Think of dragons and mermaids. It is like an armour for them. When you’re well-protected, your self-confidence rises and life gets much easier.”
6. Get in line
Fauré Le Page adopts the demanding technique of Lyon frame printing, a kind of screen-printing that requires meticulous precision and steady hands. Describes De Buffévent: “It is a labour-intensive process. If the main colour is yellow, we include three tones. First, the black is applied with one stencil, followed by light brown, medium brown, dark brown, and then the yellow. The colours and the formulation belong to Fauré Le Page.
“It is difficult to match the different tones of the same colour. If the screen is not perfectly aligned, even just a quarter of a millimetre off on one side can translate to disaster on the other side. In addition, it has to be executed with the same speed and the hues must have the same density. I’m going to tell you a secret: We love it when it rains. It’s much easier to print in high humidity.”
Using this intricate method enables Fauré Le Page to apply the Écailles motif, reserved for the finest of fabrics, on sturdy canvas. A brilliant shade of yellow named Ocre de Mars, a tribute to the god of war, accentuates the precious pattern.
7. Top of the pops
Last but not least, there is a Room of Seduction in every Fauré Le Page store, where precious, limited-edition items whose production don’t usually go beyond 10 pieces, are on display. “I like to have a small selection. It can vary all the time. There is no season. Sometimes, I meet creatives I want to collaborate with, and produce such pieces.”
Another example of De Buffévent’s art of surprise are the Singapore exclusives that take centre stage in the Ngee Ann City boutique. The Pouchette Parade clutch stars “FLP”, an old monogram he’s turned into a hardware. “I think this piece has a lot of personality. You know the love story of Mr Fauré and Miss Le Page?” he reminds. “The letters are intertwined like the couple.”
The Boum Box clutch combines two exotic skins. “You see the heart grenade? It is first a weapon. Love is a battle. You should take nothing for granted in love. You have to fight on a daily basis. It also means that love can be dangerous at times, when your emotions grow intense in the heat of your passion.”