French Artisans, French Luxury
As the holidays approach, my mind turns to excellence in craftsmanship. Bien sur, French artisans rise to the top! At gift-giving time, I am inclined toward somewhat impractical gifts that bestow history, beauty and superb craftsmanship. That ‘one fine thing’ I might find for a friend or family member can transport the recipient well away from mundane, everyday concerns to a world apart. I hasten to add that searching for bargains on ebay and elsewhere helps considerably in underwriting my quirky habits!
I made quite an interesting discovery in my search for gifts – an organization devoted to French luxury houses and cultural institutions. Founded in 1954, the Comité Colbert gathers those prestigious members with the goal of working together to promote French ‘art de vivre’ in the international marketplace. Today numbering 78 luxury houses and 14 cultural institutions, the committee is bound by founding values that mirror exactly what I was espousing at the beginning of this post – “…the dignity of hand crafts, respect, high standards and innovations….”
I’m sure you can imagine many on the prestigious roster – from Chanel and Christian Dior, Dalloyau and Christofle to Pierre Frey, Hermés and Hôtel Ritz. One member epitomizes the group’s vision and values – Delisle Paris. Founded in 1895, the prominent bronzier d’art celebrates 120 years of astounding craftsmanship that enhances sites not only throughout France but across the globe.
Delisle projects cover a fascinating array of revered historic locales. The 350-plus lanterns that illuminate the Paris Royal galleries of Paris have been under the tender care of the luxury house for over 40 years. Nesting pigeons and ball-playing children can play havoc with these masterpieces! When the city of Paris decided to bring forth the magnificent rostral columns of Place de la Concorde that were stored in the Grand Palais cellars, Delisle was the natural choice for the large-scale restoration of the cast-iron rostra and top-set lanterns.
Now, I readily admit to you that I won’t be commissioning a $142,000 chandelier, such as the one created for a Moscow customer; and I haven’t been able to even locate, much less purchase, a Delisle candlestick. But I love knowing that when we visit the Grand Trianon in Versailles or wander into the Shangri-La hotel in Paris, we will be well aware of the creators of their gorgeous lighting.
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