Design & Decoration S01 ep4: Gerald Tavenas, Lalique Crystal Glass, [Paris]
Interview with Gerlad Tavenas
Rene Lalique is an artist like Renoir, Monet, Modigliani or Matiste. And it's the only example of the success of an artist who becomes an industrialist. He started his life with the jewellery after studying in England for 2 years between the age of 16 and 18. When he came back to France he started to design for people like Cartier or Boucheron , but immediately he felt that those brands were not prepared to the modernity of his vision of the jewellery. He was very inspired by the Japanese, by the nature and especially by what I will call the insects for instance locusts and he created a what we call a fantasmagorical world.
Henri Lalique was one of the most important artists in the world from the period
of art noveau and art deco, in fact he had two different activities. The first one
was jewellery and the second one was glassmaker during the art deco period
1909 until 1945.
He came to the glass activities by accident. He was a close friend of Mr. Coty
who was the inventor of the modern perfumery. He asked to Mr. Lalique if it
could be possible for him to design a perfume bottle and this bottle was a big
event because for the first time the bottle was expressing the fragrance inside
This bottle was such a success; maybe it was also due to the perfume, that
everybody wished to work with Henri Lalique. Henri Lalique has designed
about 400 different models of scent bottles and today people are collecting
those antique scent bottles. There was auction and one bottle was sold for 2
million French francs.
He started his life with the jewellery after studying in England for 2 years
between the age of 16 and 18. When he came back to France he started to
design for people like Cartier or Boucheron , but immediately he felt that those
brands were not prepared to the modernity of his vision of the jewellery.
He was very inspired by the Japanese, by the nature and especially by what I
will call the insects for instance locusts and he created a what we call a
He discovered that the glass in these jewellery before, because he was
working with what you call crystal de roche and step by step he replaced the
crystal de roche by glass, demonstrating that it is not necessary to have
precious stones or materials that the artistic feeling is more important than the
I have spent a large part of my life in the fashion world with Charles Jordan,
working with people like Karl Lagerfeld - he spent 7 years with me.
Interviewer: So you have seen basically the luxury business over the last 30
I will say I am a good witness, you say, because I work also with people like
Castelbajac, Montanna, Thierry Mugler.
There was 3 generations of Lalique from 1880 I would say, when Henri Lalique
started, until 1994. When I came into the company Lalique was only involved
in the crystal activities - it was a very famous brand but for jet set people but
not really known for the …
Interviewer: Mass market
…mass public. I was totally affected by that because I knew everything about
Lalique and I was surprised that people have forgotten that he was the biggest
jewellery creator and that he had designed the fountains of the Rue Champs
Elysee, that he had decorated the Orient Express, Normandy Boat ,and also
some buildings, like the building like the Coty building on 5th Avenue which
today is the Henry Brendal shop, buildings in Los Angeles, the Palace of the
Prince Assaka in Tokyo and some churches in Jersey and in France. People
have forgotten that.
I decided to reveal that, this world, and I started to re launch the fancy
Interviewer: When was this?
In 1988. I decided to launch the perfume because we have created so many
bottles that one day we wish to fill up our own bottles, you know.
I remember that Lalique has worked with the fashion world especially with Paul
Poiret, who was one of the most important French Courtier at the beginning of
the century and Henri Lalique has designed handbags, scarves, bags,
Interviewer: Oh he did that, did he.
Oh yes he did this.
Interviewer: Oh so these are actually from his historical drawings
Yeah and in fact today I said if we want to go for a while. The crystal activity is
a small activity, you have to get back to the roots of the father and I revealed
the new world of Lalique who was existing one century ago and who was
forgotten. In fact I did not launch any line that was not touched by our father.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Gerald Tavenas, Laique Crystal Glass, Paris