Augustin de Buffévent Talks About Fauré Le Page

As Creative Director of Fauré Le Page, Augustin de Buffévent has travelled Europe, the Middle East and the United States to develop the brand and tell its story filled with history.

As Creative Director of Fauré Le Page, Augustin de Buffévent has travelled Europe, the Middle East and the United States to develop the brand and tell its story filled with history. During a meeting in Paris – the home of the brand, Azyaamode discovered the legend behind it and here is what he counted about its past and its present, while giving us a glimpse at its future.

Tell us about your two responsibilities at Fauré Le Page – the creative and the commercial.

To be honest, I am more in the kitchen than in the restaurant. I started with the two hats but now I am more into creation. I realized that I can’t do everything at the same time. As we are growing, it’s absolutely impossible. I am deeply interested in what’s going on in the restaurant, but I am more in the kitchen.

With a logo that includes 1717 in reference to the year in which Fauré Le Page was first founded, what can you tell us about the history behind the brand?

The brand Fauré Le Page was founded in 1717, some even say 1716. They were originally goldsmiths so it was totally different and they used to make weapons for kings and queens. In parallel, Fauré Le Page had an activity of making leather goods. Originally, only men carried handbags, and it wasn’t until after World War I that women started carrying bags. So, when I bought the name “Fauré Le Page” around year 2010, the idea was to combine the first house with intuition and demand. This is the reason why the motto of Fauré Le Page became “Armed for Seduction”. So, all our bags are inspired by the first house always with a sense of humor because I think it is the best weapon of seduction. This is the base of Fauré Le Page.

Was this address where it all started?

Our first address was next to Palais Royal and you can still see the letters on the top of the building. However, we decided to move because they wanted to establish a museum. So, 21 Rue Cambon is now where the magic of leather goods happens.

It's a big responsibility to revive a brand even though it has a long history. What are the different designs that you have created?

The designs have to be of the right balance, because if you refer only to the past, you become a museum without moving forward. So, we found the right mix of what's recurring nowadays, the references of the past and our personal experience. We have here some of our newest bags called Ladies First. It is inspired by the cartridge box and you have many details that refer to the uniforms. It associates comfort and style and to me, this is absolutely perfect. Also, there is a very discreet opening and it is a symbol of chance. We took one element of the pistol and we reintegrated it as a jewel on the bag. It’s really to reinvent the codes of seduction, which is today one of the codes of the house. We also work with fantastic craftsmen, and as we are working with workshops on a long-term basis, we are able to work on new materials. I'm also very sensitive to the durability. Our bags need to be strong and in fact, they age well, and this is very important.

We know that leather changes with time. Does using fabric helps make it more durable?

It makes it light. It’s true we have our phones, but we still carry many things. So, if your bag is already heavy, your life will be painful. It’s very important to have light bags and this is something coming from the hunting industry.

Introducing lightweight and easily maintainable products is at the core of your savoir-faire. Can you tell us about the know-how and where do you do you produce your creations?

We work with very small workshops between France, Italy and Spain. We know exactly where our goods are manufactured. Our products are totally made in France. We work with the workshops depending on the type of product we want to manufacture. Typically, it’s exactly like in couture, it’s not the same workshop nor the same craftsmen. In Italy, we achieve the embroidery because they have dedicated workshops with dedicated machines. In Spain, we manufacture some of the bags and some of the leather goods, because for a long period of time, they have been known for making leather shoes for the Roman soldiers and they are fantastic at doing trimmings. At the end of the day, it’s more about the relationship you have with the craftsmen because it’s a dialog and you have to develop this dialog to get the product you want.

What are the main designs that you consider pillars of the house?

We have three pillars. The first one is the Daily Battle tote bag, and it’s a must-have. It carries a lot, so it will be your best friend. It’s also light, resistant and adjustable.

The second pillar is the Saga line. It’s the newest bag that we will be launching in the coming days. It’s very versatile as you can carry it with the long strap or the short one, and it has a very military shape.

Then there is the Ladies First. It’s also very versatile and I love its shoulder pad. It looks so chic even on an evening dress. So, Fauré Le Page was a more masculine brand and we made it feminine while paying tribute to the French gallantry.

We also have some nice designs for men that we are developing. We have a new travel bag called the Dream bag, and it is already becoming a great success.

What would be your strategy to appeal for the new generation and help them get to know the brand at a younger age?

I think we are not really into marketing. We just work on the identity of Fauré Le Page and that’s enough. I think this is what makes the success of old names. It’s when they work to reinvent themselves. I don’t see my work as running behind customers. It’s more about cultivating and working on our identity. We can spread our message out there by word of mouth, which is far more powerful. People like to discover, some of them are more mainstream and like more mainstream brands while others are looking for more exclusivity and if you are very loud, you can’t be exclusive.

What can you tell us about the brand’s boutique in The Dubai Mall?

First of all, Middle Eastern costumers are very important to us. They were among our first customers when we reopened Fauré Le Page. Middle Eastern women are very different and have such a refinement. You have a lot of culture and you’re so aware of what’s going on. They are very demanding customers and to us, we feel at ease. We are really happy about that and this is the reason why we are opening a second store in the region.

What is your best-seller in the UAE today?

Among our designs, the Daily Battle, the Take It Easy and the Saga lines are performing very well. And I wouldn’t be surprised if in Kuwait – once we open our store during the second half of the year, it’s going to be the same ones.

Last but not least, if you are to send a direct message to Arab women when they come to your store, what are they going to find?

Besides weapons of seduction, they will find exclusivity. We also want our stores to feel like home and to have their warm atmosphere. As you know, I am working with my family – with my father and one of my younger brothers. It was very important to me when I took over Fauré Le Page to share the atmosphere of family and home. Whether it’s the design of the store in Kuwait or any other store we’ve known, they all have something a bit unique. Through them, I remember living with my family, my grandparents and my great grandparents and the special harmony that took over their homes. I like this to be an element of surprise, which is true to the values of the brand.

Article Written by Mirella Haddad