Delvaux Celebrates Belgium in a Small Way

08/28/2017
Melvyn Teillol-Foo

“Isn’t it surreal when it’s too good to be real?”

Delvaux introduces Les Miniatures Belgitude mini bags for Fall 2017.

Delvaux-Belgitude

 

History of Delvaux

Delvaux claims to be the oldest fine leather goods House in the world since 1829. Delvaux began before the Belgium nation. In 1830, the Belgians declared their independence from the Netherlands. In 1835, the first passenger railway line in continental Europe connected the Belgian cities of Brussels and Mechelen. By 1875, Belgium possessed the largest rail system in the world.

Charles Delvaux, a trunk maker in Brussels, foresaw the implications of this industrial revolution. As early as 1880, his firm swiftly began to adapt to the new need for women to carry a bag to keep certain items close at hand while they travelled, which led the company to file some of the earliest patents for handbags in 1908.

Air Hostesses with Delvaux handbags at World’s Fair 1958

We can blame the House of Delvaux for the concept of seasonal collections as the the first luxury leather goods manufacturer to take up the custom practiced in haute couture. Official Purveyors to the Royal Court of Belgium and connoisseurs everywhere, Delvaux’s iconic design, if not its finest, was the ‘Brilliant’ bag designed for the 1958 World Expo in Brussels.

Brilliant bag since 1958

 

Delvaux Bag Construction

 

Brilliant

In the horseshoe-shaped buckle of the Brillant, one can discern an abstract letter ‘D’.
Buttons are sewn by hand with a fine, thin layer of leather glued in place over the button. They are then left to dry overnight and secured with a twist of thread.

Button

 

Les Miniatures Belgitude collection

In the world of luxury, the best things come in small packages. Every lady knows that a tiny package wrapped with the signature paper of their favourite brand is always better than the big shopping bags that probably contains a scarf or a belt!
Humans are fascinated by miniature art; hence our obsession with bonsai trees and painted enamel jewellery Easter eggs. Recently, the average size of formerly shoulder-bending designer handbags has been shrinking rapidly; we even have tiny handbags for our big handbags as accessories or charms for bags.

Delvaux Design Department 1950s

Delvaux is the latest brand to celebrate it’s Belgian culture with a of ‘baby’ bags. There are seven miniature versions of its signature handbag, the Brilliant. Measuring just 7cm x 8.5cm x 5cm, these limited-edition wearable charms are scaled-down in size but upgraded in craftsmanship, as each one is embossed, printed or decorated in its Brussels atelier. While the original full-size Brilliant is constructed from 64 pieces of leather, the miniature versions are even more intricate with up to 185 components; taking twice as long to make.

Appointed by the brand as “cheery little ambassadors of Belgitude”, each miniature leather bag pays homage to one of seven cultural icons of Belgium, in a humourous fashion. I never knew Belgians could be that funny!

Delvaux recruited Belgian filmmaker Jaco van Dormael to create seven short films, full of surrealist imagery and optical illusions to showcase the miniature bags. We show one of those videos at the end of this page.

 

Bruxelles

Delvaux Bruxelles

Depicting the stainless-steel globes of the Atomium, a iron-crystal shaped building in Brussels originally constructed for ‘Expo 58’ — this miniature bag is apt as the Brilliant handbag was conceived for the same World’s Fair.

 

Anvers

Delvaux Anvers

This bag is adorned with 77 dots in the colours of the Belgian flag, a tribute to the avant-garde fashion designers at Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts.

 

Gand

Delvaux Gand

The Gand is a tiny version of Delvaux’s iconic, Magritte-inspired “Ceci n’est pas un Delvaux” bag, first created in 2008.

 

Knokke

Delvaux Knokke

Belgian surrealist artist Magritte is also the inspiration behind the Knokke Le Zoute, combining his signature blue sky and bowler-hat in a miniature version of a Delvaux design from 2015.

 

Food, Glorious Food; the last three bags pay tribute to Belgian culinary delicacies.

 

Liége

Delvaux Liege

The classic sugar waffle served with traditional café liégeois (Liége coffee).

 

Namur

Delvaux Namur

This celebrates hot fried potato chips of the Namur, which can be detached from the white cone and has its own tiny red fork: a charm attached to a charm.

 

Ostende

Delvaux Ostend

This quirky bag is embellished with hand-painted mussels, the natural food pairing with Belgian potato fries from that seaside town.

Les Miniatures Belgitude will be available in select Delvaux boutiques from September 2017; £700 / USD 910 each.

 

Collaboration with Jaco Van Dormael

Jaco Van Dormael is a critically acclaimed Belgian film director, screenwriter and playwright. His feature films are much loved classics in Belgium and abroad and have gained international success and recognition.

 

VIDEO: Jaco van Dormael’s film — Delvaux Miniatures Belgitude

 

AlphaLuxe Comment

I like the quirky Delvaux ‘Les Miniatures Belgitude’ collection. What’s not to like?
Any miniature hand bag celebrating ‘Moules-frites’ or the Belgian waffle has a place in my heart.

“Isn’t it surreal when it’s too good to be real?”
“The true cost of luxury is the choice that it affords….”

 

 

Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)

Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He is also a moderator on PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.

Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).