The Fashion Folk S01 ep16 : Marie Steichenberger, Holland Holland, [London]
Interview with Marie Steichenberger
Mr Holland was crazy about Safari and he started to travel a lot and Holland and Holland became a house of adventure travel to other countries. So we had two concerns, the gun and the adventure travel.
Holland and Holland is a beautiful story that starts in 1835. We are gun makers
and rifle makers and we have a manufacturing factory in England with 100 people
working, and we produce 107 guns and rifles per year. We have a few guns that
cost about between 37 and 40,000 Pounds per gun.
Mons Holland was crazy about Safari and he started to travel a lot so then
Holland and Holland became a house of adventure travel to other countries. So
we had two concerns, the gun and the adventure.
KM: Who owns Holland and Holland?
Holland and Holland has been owned by Chanel for the last 15 years.
KM: And why did the Wertheimer's invest in Holland and Holland.
Because of their passion. Holland and Holland is really a man's world and the
owners are men, and they shoot, and they were convinced by the high technicity
of our guns.
KM: Why are you the design director of Holland and Holland?
First of all I come from a family who shoot, a lot and it is....
KM: So you know the culture of the Gun?
Yes, my father, my grandfather, all of my family and we have a wonderful
property in Borbornay in France.
KM: What is the fascination with shooting?
Men who shoot, not only animals there is no doubt it. It is a challenge, to get up
early in the morning and walk through the forest and discover this world, it is a
world of nature. It is also an art to know how to shoot.
I was a clothing designer for a few years, and then I set up my own company in
1989 and I manufactured jewellery. I know what is manufacturing and also
enterprise I worked at Christian Dior, I was the right hand person of Mr. John
Franco Ferre before John Galliano...
KM: And also before Victoire De Castellane
Yes, and then I went to Escada for 5 years, I was the designer for accessories,
for 5 years, and I know Mr. Ley very well, so I have had many different
adventures in house, as well as keeping my own company trying to develop this
company further, so the work within these fashion houses helped me in setting up
my own company. Now my company has been set up for 13 years and we
manufacture for Christian Dior fine jewellery to this day, and for other brands.
KM: So you have your own workshop as well?
KM: So you really are a real jeweller meaning you have your own workshop?
Accessories, we also manufacture leather goods in the last few years.
KM: This is in Paris?
Yes, a little outside Paris.
KM: So this is your background and your business?
So then Chanel called me and said here Marie, we have a big challenge here. We
have a house called Holland and Holland for 15 years and we have taken a
different direction and some were good and some were not so good, and now the
result is that we are still number one in guns and rifles, but we need our clients
KM: Can I ask you what was Wertheimer's background; was he always in the
Mr. Wertheimer - yes from very young, he was in the luxury world, with his
mother, His family owned Chanel. There are three brothers.
KM: They are all in the business themseleves?
We cannot do it by ourselves, we need a team, we need the right people around
us, so as we can achieve our objectives.
KM: What do you mean by that?
I mean that you could find 100 solutions, but if it is not the right team, forget it. To
find the team is once in a life, so Holland and Holland and Mr. Wertheimer is
looking for this team for the last 15 years.
KM: It takes that long?
To develop the brand, yes. Karl Largerfeld was the one.
Galliano was the one in 2000.
KM: Yes, but was it Wertheimer himself that saw in Karl Largerfeld the right
KM: Did he pick him really?
KM: Then why is it that Wertheimers are very shy? Why do say that.
Because they are very humble.
KM: You mean that is the only reason?
And because they are very clever
Yes, they want to protect themselves, their own company yes.
KM: What is different about a shooting jacket compared to a normal jacket?
Oh well you have a certain technicity and elastic in the lining, you have a lot of
different parts put into the jacket. Which are very technical.
KM: Which gives it more movement than a regular jacket.
Yes, you have special tweeds, special elastics, special linings, all the jackets are
water resistant for rain, and you have to cover yourself. So I am working for the
last 6 months like a crazy woman.
KM: Yes, but I think you have always been a crazy woman anyway from what you
have been telling me, you would have to be!
Yes, yes, yes! But when somebody is buying we have to come back to the fact
when somebody is coming here to buy a Holland and Holland piece and it has to
be as good as our guns.
We had Guy Ritchie in our boutique last week, and he bought some beautiful
things because he is a shooter,
KM: Guy Ritchie is a shooter; well with his movies Lock Stock and Two Smoking
Barrels he is either a shooter or a pretender?
He is a shooter. Yes, O.K. today Elle MacPherson came into our boutique she
came in to buy a few things, a jacket and so on, we need the world to develop
KM: Why are they coming here?
Because they breath.
KM: They what?
They breathe, because we are going to be the next house.
KM: So they know that this is coming.
Yes, they feel it.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Marie Steichenberger, Holand Holand, London