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Delvaux | In 1829, one year before Belgium becomes independent from the Netherlands, the Maroquinerie Delvaux opens its first store and workshop in the most lively street downtown Brussels. Charles Delvaux specializes in trunk making and other travelling accessories when luxury travel was done by steamships and pullman trains. Delvaux search for quality is rewarded in 1883 by a prestigious title still held today: Supplier to the Belgian Royal Court. In 1933, Delvaux is purchased by a young agricultural engineer, Franz Schwennicke, impressed and eager to own a century old-trade-name. He totally alters the Delvaux image by introducing collections of handbags presented twice a year like in Europe's couture houses. Upon the death of Mr. Schwennicke, his young wife Solange takes over the management of the business in 1970. Trough the years, Mrs. Schwennicke makes of Delvaux a functional yet highly design oriented company with constant emphasis on quality and value. She brings a new and younger consumer to the Delvaux tradition. Today, François Schwennicke, her eldest son, is the managing director of Delvaux while Mrs. Schwennicke presides over the group including designs, distribution, manufacturing. Delvaux handmade craftsmanship is unique and rare. All phases of operations are made in-house, as well as all the hardware. Eighty percent of Delvaux personnel are artisans. To ensure continuity of this valuable craft, Delvaux created a training school in its own workshops. A qualified craftsman is trained for about ten years. The making of a handbag takes between 6 and 13 hours. Delvaux works mainly with high quality European calf leather, but is also known for its exotic skins: ostrich, crocodile, lizard. One of its signature is a braided leather or "Cuir Côtelé". Delvaux collections are shown twice a year. Three in-house stylists headed by Michèle Naiken and overseen by Mrs. Schwennicke design new styles each year which are incorporated in a collection of about 80 styles, all patented. Small leather goods, belts, men's briefcases, desk accessories are included in the main handbag collection. Lately, a coordinated collection of scarves, shawls, kerchiefs, gloves and umbrellas have been added. Unique also, are Delvaux custom-made facilities. Started in 1829 by its founder, this service allows Delvaux discerning clients to personalize their purchase in selecting leather, color, stitching and hardware - 24 carat gilded, gunmetal, nickel - as well as coordinated additional accessories and initials engraving. Delivery can take months, depending the intricacy of the work. Delvaux has a repair and reconditioning department. Serving several generations of clients, it receive an average of 10.000 items a year some 30 years old or more. Moving towards the next century and planning its 175 years of existence, Delvaux' ambitious challenge is to pursue creativity and quality despite high competition and sometime scarce materials, to promote its craftsmanship and special services, while achieving profits for responsible international expansion.
Added on: 12-6-2006 Hits: 4307

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