Voir le menu


With many years of experience as an operator in jewelry workshops, Mila succeeded in becoming an assembly team supervisor and then a vocational trainer, which is a key position of the workshop. “My job is to train and develop the skills of new employees of the House, and to teach workers specific processes applied in the assembly field. Most of the operators are capable of passing along their savoir-faire, so I only intervene in more complex techniques. We must continually consider how to develop new processes to streamline the work of our operators.” New techniques, new materials: “Things are constantly changing, we are incessantly integrating new information, and we must do everything we can to ensure that the operators develop their skills in these techniques as quickly as possible. That is the most pleasant aspect of our work: having to constantly change and learn. When you love your work, it is a pleasure to pass on your expertise. For me, it is extremely satisfying to see coworkers become autonomous in a matter of months. The assembly that we perform here is not something you can learn at school. Our school is the workshop: this is where we learn and improve our performance, bit by bit, with each season. Within the same collection, we might be called upon to assemble pieces, set rhinestones and braid leather. It takes a very wide range of skills, and with as many collections per year, we don’t have time to get bored.”


She sits facing hundreds of metal fragments. In her hand she holds a hand-crafted chain, threaded beads, an assembled cuff. She links, glues, applies rhinestones. “I like the way no two days are identical: each day we use such different and complementary techniques. Until the piece finally takes shape before our eyes.” After earning a certificate of professional aptitude in cooking, she joined the House with a temporary contract as an assembly operator in the jewelry department. “I learned everything from the more experienced workers. They showed me, and I copied them. Assembling a chain, knotting, resin work, braiding… Today, I know how to do every operation.” Threading, assembling clips onto earrings, gluing leather, shaping single loops… “You learn something every day, and when you are conscientious you can learn very quickly. I love going from one technique to another, discovering people’s savoir-faire. We are proud of the pieces that we work on, such as the minaudière on which I am applying black pigment with a syringe at this very moment: we are proud to see such objects come to life and to know that clients will wear them. I enjoy working on complex products: I find the challenge exhilarating. Producing such quality with meticulousness and discipline… I wouldn’t trade my profession for the world.”


He began his career among oscilloscopes, software and testing. After achieving a technological university degree and attending a school of management, Pragash became a procurement manager in a department of a large aeronautics company. But he felt drawn to the world of fashion, and so when an opportunity to join Desrues arose, he seized it. “The industry might be different, but there are a number of similarities in technical terms. Savoir-faire, 3D plans, machine settings, 5-axis machining… These are subjects with which I have been confronted in other sectors. At the Ready-to-Wear Business Unit where I work, we focus on the beginning of the collection: we launch consultations with our suppliers, we consider co-conceptions with various sub-contractors, we secure our processes, and we examine ways to optimize our costs. We determine the materials, components, services and savoir-faire to procure in order to continue improving the quality, creativity and innovation of our collections. Bringing nuances to the opacity of a material, reproducing the shine of metal in resin, investigating how to introduce hot-stamping into our processes or what type of machining to select… Desrues offers a great deal of projects and the opportunity to emulate experienced craftsmen and very quickly develop one’s skills… For all those seeking to rise to a challenge, it is an excellent playing field.”


With a scientific profile and a materials engineering degree, Agathe began being oriented towards the luxury industry with her first professional experiences. “I graduated from engineering school and could have gone into the aeronautics, medical, or automotive industries… Or lifestyle and luxury. Concretely, my training has taught me knowledge of various materials in a technical context. I began with a work placement at the SNCF, where I worked on standardizing railroad surveys; and then I turned to the luxury world. I worked at the workshops, in contact with the products, and I appreciated seeing the savoir-faire and quality of French crafting. Then I spent two years in Italy, which is a true advantage for finding work in this sector. Three years ago, I joined a development branch of Desrues. My role is to intervene on the collection while it is in industrialization. We guide the stylists and technicians to ensure that the pieces are identically reproducible, in very large quantities and for optimal quality. Technically, it is extremely instructive, since it gets to the core of the process. Costs, quality, turnover times: I participate in selecting techniques and materials. For example, for a given piece, would it be more judicious to perform tin casting or lost wax casting? What result will be the most refined, the most robust, and the most easily replicable? Each piece of jewelry requires a great number of techniques, and must meet very precise specifications. Our work is to take a global vision of all our imperatives, interfacing with crafting skills and knowledge of an endless number of materials: fabric, polyester, PMMA, metal, resin and glass. It is truly satisfying to see the pieces presented as part of a collection and to hold them in our hands. It is an even greater satisfaction to see such beautiful, precise results once they have been produced in a large series. Each collection theme becomes our baby in a way.”


He learned to craft jewelry from an early age at the workshop of his parents who were jewelers in Vietnam. He remembers often sitting in front of the workbenches and watching the pieces take shape before his eyes. When he came to France, he happened upon an encounter that led him to this line of work. “I started working on metal series, and then moved on to rhinestone gluing before becoming foundry manager. Today, my work at Desrues consists of creating ranges and models from A to Z. Deciding what techniques to use, what savoir-faire to call upon, what purchases will be required, what amount of time will be spent crafting each piece, what surface treatment to apply, what packaging… That collection plan is then submitted to our clients for approval. After that, the collection will be adapted to the production line. I provide my knowledge of savoir-faire and jewelry on a daily basis: how to craft it quickly, at the best price, and to a level of unrivaled quality. At a glance, I have to consider which workshops will need to get involved and which types of the House savoir-faire will be applied. And we are spoiled for choice! That’s what is so wonderful: we have so many resources at our fingertips, along with a true sense of continual innovation and research, to keep improving on our quality.”


She holds a thousand-year-old savoir-faire in her hands: the art of the glassmith. She also holds colored sticks that she holds up to the flame of a blowtorch. Crafting beads and cabochons, pouring glass into metal. “This is a profession that can be learned in today’s world as an offshoot of glass-blowing training. Personally, I learned it here on the job, without a degree. I began my career at Desrues 16 years ago in the jewelry workshop before moving on to the glass workshop. After trying it for just one day, I remember saying ‘I’ll stay here, it suits me.’ Glass is a fascinating material. It’s hypnotizing to see it move and come alive. I get into a zone where I don’t notice anything around me: I am focused on the lava glowing under my blowtorch. It is an exercise that requires a great deal of patience and dexterity. You learn the techniques over time, feeling them out. I take sticks of solid glass in various colors and heat them up in the flame. When the glass becomes soft, I work with my thread and bring it the desired shape. I also have more than 500 molds available to me so that I can shape cabochons and beads that will go onto jewelry pieces for a collection. I can play with the material, for example bringing a more unusual, irregular effect to the surface. The setting for this work is extremely safe, innovative and challenging. I have been here for 16 years, and I learn new things on a daily basis.”


Nestled into protective earmuffs and goggles, Cédric moves from one vat to another. “There was no way to predict that I would go into electroplating one day. I started out studying law at college, and then became a volunteer fireman. I joined Desrues as a temp worker. An experienced employee taught me the basics of being a electroplater, a profession that can be learned through the coursework for a senior technologist’s certificate in materials processing. Personally, I learned about chemistry, material reactions and immersion times on the job here. I also took professional training courses. We are fortunate to work with equipment that is at the cutting edge in terms of safety; and we enjoy the best possible tools for the execution of our tasks. We handle dangerous substances such as acids and cyanide, but our workspace is clean and safe. It might be factory work, but this is the luxury industry.”


After a career in product design and applied innovation research, Anne-Sophie joined Desrues as a 3D model-maker before becoming an innovation manager. In 2009, she created the Innovation LAB, a space for brainstorming and discussion that actively involves every talent at the company. “Through our monitoring work and our proximity with our various departments, we bring forth projects based on innovation and collective intelligence. The House can count on truly ingenious people in each area, in each workshop. They are the talents who are closest to the realities of their daily work, and who know the challenges, demands and difficulties of their professions – and what can be improved – better than anyone else. When I first arrived, for example, 3D technology was still in its infancy. It didn’t take long for us to streamline the exchanges between the manual and digital model-makers to establish a true synergy among them and to take the creative process one step further. In an open approach to innovation, we also take an interest in the developments underway in other sectors of industry, and we share our experiences with companies in fields that are very far removed from ours.”


Nearly 25 years ago, she was designing, assembling and fully crafting jewelry for her own brand. She taught herself to do all that on her own, dreaming that one day she would be able to perform such tasks for a House like CHANEL. She joined the Desrues team of stylists in 2009 and is now one of the “orchestra conductors” who coordinates the execution of orders from Desrues clients. “To be a stylist at a House like this one is not anything like what you might expect of the profession elsewhere. Here, in addition to an aesthetic sense – an eye and a taste for beauty –, you also must understand the technical side: the savoir-faire that each piece requires and the optimal way to make it identically reproducible, even if it is just a few centimeters in diameter. Desrues is a formidable war machine built to handle the demands of luxury brands. That is, I believe, the strength of the savoir-faire that it has protected and brought up to potential, gathering all its craftsmen under one roof for the love of its products. A word, an inspiration, a fabric: we must consider the piece that we intend to create, the techniques that we are going to use, and the order in which we will execute the steps, in a perpetual back-and-forth interaction with the various workshops.”


Like many of her coworkers, Fanny worked in a field very far removed from costume jewelry and the luxury sphere before she landed a position with Desrues. “I have a degree in quality management and engineering. For many years, I worked in the automobile industry; but when I joined Desrues, I was surprised to see the extent of the specifications and quality requirements for each button, each piece of jewelry. In my mind, the only expectation that people might have for such a product would be its beauty. But no: it must comply in terms of size and proportions, and be tested a number of times at the laboratory. Submitting it to the conditions of a tropical atmosphere, thermal shocks, drop tests, dry cleaning, UV rays… We must ensure that each button and each piece of jewelry stands up to the passage of time and every possible situation. Those are tests that I have never encountered in the automobile industry, and that I find fascinating.” Discipline, demonstration, the establishment of indicators: “I was also surprised to see the speed of product development here. In the automotive field, a car might go through testing for a year before being brought to the market. Time frames are very different here, though, and it is very motivating to work on several collections a year. The clients for the houses that we supply have different expectations than clients in the automobile industry. It is up to us to understand and anticipate the demands specific to the luxury world, and to remain agile.”


With a degree in leather engineering, Caroline began her career with leather goods and accessory companies before joining the Desrues Accessories Business Unit a few months ago. “Metal is a new product for me. As for leather, it is a living material, and each skin has its individual imperfections and irregularities. We must adapt to the particular qualities of each material that enters the production line for our buttons, jewelry and fashion accessories. I am in charge of developing products, prices, ranges and nomenclatures. What is distinctive about Desrues is that everything is done under one roof, from conception to production. In fact, I believe that that is the strength and exceptional nature of this House, which possesses a full chain of savoir-faire and controls all the manufacturing steps. From the stylists’ inspiration to the production of the finished product, I work with the technicians to find the easiest way to manufacture the product at the best price, ensuring that each piece is industrial and reproducible. It is wonderful to see a piece through from one end to the other, bringing it to life.”


With an ability to not only machine a design but also to design a machine – creating tools for the manufacture of jewelry or buttons –, Alexandre joined Desrues after earning a vocational diploma. “This is a profession that may be applied to a number of fields, such as the automotive, medical, aeronautic and luxury industries. At Desrues, it is far from a repetitive factory job. I never do the same thing from one day to the next. I am fortunate to be involved in a very wide range of activities and at several levels of the production line. Creating tools, fashioning molds, performing assembly tasks or even machining whole pieces… We use a full range of machines (grinders, metal turners, electrical discharge machines).

We stay abreast of new technologies with the latest processes and the continual improvement of our machines. Above all, I bring my technical expertise to Desrues from a more industrial viewpoint. I consider the execution techniques and the feasibility of a product. In some sectors, projects can stretch out over months or years. Here, we have to be able to create a full collection – and the tools required to produce it – within a few weeks. From first inspiration to the finished product. It is very stimulating.”


“I am very new to the world of luxury and Haute Couture.” Alexandre earned a senior technologist’s certificate in industrial product conception to become a digital design engineer. He began his career at the design center of a tractor factory. “After that, I designed jetbridges. This field is different from other industries in that the function of the object arises from its style, and not the opposite. We might be seeking the right balance in a hair barrette or the right location for a brooch attachment system, but above all we must always strive to create aesthetic beauty. When a collection is first being developed, we receive the briefs from our clients, and we conceive the structure of the piece. The digital model can be used in various ways after that. It might go on to become a 3D-printed prototype, be used in the foundry with castable wax, or provide guidelines for the machining process. Desrues places a great deal of importance in innovation. For example, we just purchased the most high-performance scanner on the market. Because new technologies offer endless ways for us to experiment. I might scan a very old archived piece from our clients’ patrimony, and then take inspiration from it, reusing its design, its lines. In a strong symbolic move, the wall between the hand-made mock-up and 3D model workshops was recently torn down. We truly work together, and it is extremely enriching.”


His workbench appears to be frozen in time. Pliers, a tiny hand saw, a mallet… As a jewelry model maker, Nuno cuts, shapes and adjusts metal to fashion each piece. “I came into this profession somewhat by chance. I immediately appreciated the meticulous work, the contact with metal, and the precision that it requires. I receive a brief from the stylists, and it is up to me to interpret the look and appearance of the piece while taking into account the limits of our manufacturing and assembly possibilities. Our workshops use age-old jewelry techniques which can be taken even further today in conjunction with digital technology. The high-tech processes at Desrues make it possible to improve our approach and to bring an extremely sought-after allure to our creations. For example, we might start with a very structured, graphic piece that will then be hand-patinated to bring it a more authentic style. We are continually progressing and learning. I consider Desrues to be an excellent school: a place where, within a few months, you can learn techniques that require several years to assimilate elsewhere. The fast pace of the work obliges us to be attentive and to adapt quickly, but it especially shows us that nothing is impossible nor infeasible. Our challenge is to give it a try: that is our trademark.”


Her fingers assemble, thread, attach, braid and dismantle with breathtaking agility: Sara is a jewelry assembler. Stylists provide her with creative concepts, and it is up to her to conceive, fashion and showcase the idea. “I first came here as a temp worker, and I was trained on the job by my more experienced coworkers. Threading beads, knotting necklaces, shaping spiral loops, resin work… After a while, I was able to perform these techniques on my own. I love the creative aspect of this work and the liberty that it allows, and I love handling what will become a finished piece of jewelry. It is impressive to see the workshop come to life for each collection, watching our teams produce quality against deadlines. This is a profession that requires a great deal of patience and meticulousness. Sometimes minute pieces can require hours of work. What a thrill to see them on the runway! After five years with the workshop, I have yet to be confronted with certain techniques; I am constantly learning.” Sara works particularly often with leather, braiding strips and patiently slipping them through metal links. “Each one must be threaded through with a great deal of patience. You have to ensure its regularity and a certain tension in the leather band. It is a very basic technique, but it requires utmost concentration. I also trim leather, which consists of thinning it out with a scalpel in order to slim down the edges to be glued for a more attractive result. Leather is a material that I love to work with. It allows for so many stylistic effects, it is very elegant, and it is very pleasant to handle.”


Like a kitchen chef, the dyer heats dye baths in pots each spanning 45 cm in diameter. “We don’t really measure anything here; we eyeball it. Our work is part chemistry, part artistry.” Nicolas joined the company 15 years ago at the foundry. “The dyer was taking his retirement. He took me under his wing like a mentor and taught me everything there is to know about the profession, which consists of coloring all sorts of pieces and materials. Beads, cabochons, nylon, polyester, wood, and more… Through experimentation, I learned which pigments to use, which immersion times to observe, and what reactions are produced by various materials. I also learned how to manage the workload to provide for the workshop’s needs,” he continues. “This is a profession that requires a great deal of sensitivity, since everything is guesstimated. Dyeing is a dying art, and you can’t learn it at school. There is something so satisfying about watching color spread over a material, settling into it and becoming a part of it, and then watching that piece being walked down a runway. I feel fortunate to be able to develop my skills in a company that appreciates this type of savoir-faire.”