The rapidly expanding house of Camille Fournet is developing its expertise in leather goods, becoming a go-to brand for French-made luxury items.
It was back in 1945 that Camille Fournet, originally from the town of Romans, set up his factory in Picardy. His watchstraps, skilfully produced mostly in exotic leathers, immediately caught the eye of the finest Swiss and French watchmakers.
Taking the reins in the 1990s, Jean-Luc Déchery and his wife Françoise, who is in charge of artistic creation, breathed new life into the factory. The production site in Tergnier grew, and today covers 3000m2. The name Camille Fournet became more and more prestigious. “To move forward in the luxury goods market, you need to master the production processes”, says the manager.
Camille Fournet’s watchstraps, which represent 90% of its business, are exported around the world. Furthermore, it is the only brand that produces “made-to-measure” watchstraps. Venturing into Japan for the first time in the 2000s opened the way for the business to flourish further. Camille Fournet bags were then the next logical step, following on from the first few lines of small leather goods.
The legacy of master leatherworkers and the use of exotic hides, alligator in particular, inform Camille Fournet’s refined aesthetic, its elegant allure and timeless luxury, making the most of the material. The volume adds value to the material The Dédale bag, one of the brand’s most emblematic, is made from six alligator hides, and takes around ten hours to produce. The addition of elegant decorations borrowed from its watchstrap design is a clear nod to the company’s watchmaking traditions.
“The devil is in the detail”, points out Jean-Luc Déchery, “From the very outset, you need to anticipate everything.” The leather goods are all crafted in a dedicated workshop by 25 experienced artisans, who work on individual products from start to finish. On average, the business produces 4500 small leather items and 300 bags per year, some of which, those in calfskin or young bull leather, are sourced from French tanneries.
The brand has been well established in Paris since 2005, located on the prestigious Rue Cambon, and is looking to expand. But it is Asia that is currently the focus, with Camille Fournet stores opening in Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, and soon in Hong Kong or Singapore. Its refined signature style, with high added value, is winning over an increasing number of well-informed and cosmopolitan connoisseurs.
An original and dynamic company, Camille Fournet has ambitions that go beyond export. Taking over the Millau-based glovemaker Lavabre Cadet will allow it to offer a wider selection of “Made In France” collections. The creation of a “gesture library” and a school are also in the pipeline, to prepare the way for the next generation.