Specialising in the French ‘Art of Living’, Lalique are currently celebrating 130 years of savoir-faire and creative excellence in the glassware and crystal making industry. Producing art objects, furniture, jewelery, fragrances and much more, the name Lalique is as closely associated with the term ‘made in France’ as it is for the materials that made the brand internationally renowned. The LuxPad takes a look back at the history of the brand including René Lalique himself and the latest collection celebrating their 130 year anniversary…
René Lalique: the Master of Art Nouveau & Art Deco Design
The undisputed master of Art Nouveau jewellery and Art Deco glassware design, René Lalique’s mission was to make art a part of daily life. He used sculpture and modelling to render contours, architecture to encompass his eye for line and planning and precious stones, mother of pearl and enamel to refine the shimmering interplay of material and color. Captivated by the effects of transparency and opalescence seen in glass, he worked tirelessly on harnessing the effect to create a new, aesthetic form of light. René’s muses were the female form, flora and fauna which were inexhaustible sources of inspiration. He revolutionized the beauty of the objects he created through his work with light and created his own style with frosted glass which can still be seen in each new collection to date.
Hailed as one of the great creative forces of French decorative art in the 19th and 20th centuries, René Lalique began his journey with the art of jewelery making. Combining enamel, horn, ivory and mother of pearl with semi-precious stones, he crafted his pieces with a rich profusion of shapes and colors to represent his three key inspirations. During the Art Nouveau period he began experimenting with glass, by inlaying pieces of the materials in his jewelery designs. This unique look led to his international renown as a jeweler, with top Art Nouveau artist, Emile Gallé, hailing him the ‘inventor of modern jewelery’ in 1897.
A chance encounter with master perfumer, François Coty, in 1907 led René onto a new design path and paved the way to his entry into the world of perfume bottles. It was at this time he devoted himself to working exclusively with glass and he first began experimenting with the effect of transparency and opalescence. The Art Deco era ushered in a new age of design for the designer with geometric representation of shapes refined to the highest degree across tableware, decorative objects and architectural projects.
A New Era in Crystal Design
René Lalique died in 1945 and his son, Marc, took over the brand. It was Marc who was responsible for Lalique’s introduction into the crystalware industry and raised the brand’s profile as one of the more exceptional fine crystal makers in the world. Using the same techniques his father had used in glass, he added another level of luxury to the brand with the new substance and introduced extensive handcrafted crystal making practices that still stand today.
Marc’s daughter Marie-Claude took the helm of the family enterprise in 1977 and married modernity with tradition. She ensured the family traditions of the brand were upheld whilst exhibiting the savoir-faire for which Lalique were known to keep instep with the trends of the day. With no children to take up the mantel when she retired, the brand was acquired by the Swiss Group Art & Fragrance headed by Silvio Denz who has ensured the continued development of the brand along with the protection of the traditional know-how and ‘made in France’ legacy.
The 2018 Collection
The 2018 collection is a celebration of the last 130 years of Lalique design. The Hirondelle (swallow) has long been an emblem of the Lalique brand and encompasses all of the elements which first inspired René Lalique to create his masterpieces. The undulating curves of the birds’ form in flight, the link to the natural world and of course the effects of the light that play on the swallows’ wings. The hirondelle is at the forefront of the new collection and at once triumphs the creative legacy left by the brand’s founder and the actualization of the brilliant craftsmanship still carried out at Lalique’s crystal glassworks in Alsace, France.
The swallows have been sculpted in polished satin crystal giving them an ethereal, floating effect as they swoop across the pieces demonstrating how nature in all its beauty and grace is still providing endless inspiration for the Lalique brand. The new Hirondelles collection is now available to shop at Amara.