Our workshops, our tools: in the backstage of a Jean Rousseau collection
by Anaïs Bordier
Building a collection is a very exciting journey which often starts from a simple discussion and leads to a series of original creations a few months later. But of course, between these two moments, numerous hours of work are required to manufacture our products.
This month for instance, we are very happy to announce the launch of a brand new collection called “Las Vegas”. Created as a tribute to the fascinating world of poker and card games, this collection was born after a dialogue with a Japanese client. We both wanted to offer new symbols and associate different leathers. We were indeed interested in mixing materials, as it requires very special techniques. We had in mind a specific work conducted by one of our craftsmen: the outer cladding of a card game. We thought that the French playing cards’ symbols – hearts, clubs, diamonds, and spades – were interesting forms to liven up. So we decided to go for it!
We wanted for the “Las Vegas” collection to focus on products that our clients love the most: document holders, card holders, smartphone covers, etc. When the technical work started, we had to answer several questions. Where to place the cards’ symbols? Which size should they have? What leathers should be used? Which colour to use for the sewing thread? Which technique should we adopt? Among the multiple possibilities, we opted for a full-grain calf as it offers great resistance in time and will delicately soften. We also went for alligator round scales, and all our linings were made with goat, material renowned for its very nice grain.
Within the Manufacture, the production department is key. We do not adapt to our tools, we shape them ourselves to then create the products we imagine. For instance, we build our own die-cutting tools in order to get the exact leather cuts that we need. We also use very specific instruments, from the most traditional tool to the latest technological discoveries, in order to obtain unique elements and offer innovative creations to our clients.
I am personally fascinated by two tools in particular. The first one is traditional as it is the seal used for our products’ hot stamping. The letters of our Maison are sculpted in a piece of brass, which once heated and affixed on the leather skin, prints our name. I find this object moving, beautiful and captivating at the same time.
The second tool is way more modern: it is an electronic cutter. Thanks to this technology, we get unique and extremely precise cuts, fully respecting the most precious skins we work on. It was used to cut the symbols of the “Las Vegas” collection. Within our workshops, Raphaëlle prepared the different elements, which were then sent to Mélanie, Julie, Séphora, Marie and Elodie, our craftswomen in charge of assembling the products.
Sewing, assembling, dying, etc. Each creation is singlehandedly created and brought to life by one artisan. There is no assembly line work within Jean Rousseau, it is another of our characteristics. We can say we are proud to ally traditional know-how and great modernity. But technology is never used to replace human work. On the contrary, it serves our ambitions and its role is crystal clear: motivating us to push our boundaries!