Daniel de la Falaise combines a strong family connection in fashion, with a passion for slow food.
His grandmother, Maxime de la Falaise, modelled for Elsa Schiaparelli. His aunt Loulou de la Falaise inspired Yves Laurent.
De la Falaise finds parallels between the farm on the Welsh borders in the 1970s where he grew up (his father made furniture and his mother was a dedicated gardener), and his present home in rural southwest France. The Marshall Plan tractors and farms of his Welsh childhood echo the prewar machines still used today on his small farm in the Tarn. Unlike in Wales, where the farms have become second homes, the French peasant farmers keep traditions alive while continuing to practice traditional techniques. The community is kept alive by local markets selling seasonal produce and one can still find orchards solely dedicated to different peaches.
Daniel's herb garden where he grows the aromatics for his bespoke infused oils, uses traditional methods that respect the soil and the seasons. He learnt much from local farmers like Roger and Huguette Vernes, whose family have farmed the area for generations, and even once lived in de la Falaise’s home during the war. The Vernes also grow Lautrec garlic, which is featured in Daniel’s bespoke oils. Farming in this area of France is still done on a small scale with traditional knowledge that has been inherited by family and neighbours.
De la Falaise worries that seasons have become abstract to people accustomed to eating produce all year round, often flown in from thousands of miles away. One of the concerns is that children will lose the ability to appreciate fresh locally grown food. He believes that food at its purest can create an inner and outer dialogue, which in turn feeds all of our senses, a Proustian thought.
Daniel de la Falaise is the author of Nature's Larder, Cooking with the Senses. published by Rizzoli. His farm, which uses traditional methods and knowledge, is based in south west France.
Peau de Chagrin designs limited edition luxury objects created by European master craftsmen, and following as far as practicable the principles of “slow fashion”.
The Peau de Chagrin Noir bag is made in Bordeaux, the largest city of south west France, for Peau de Chagrin by a small “atelier” (=workshop of master craftsmen), set up in 1972, originally making high quality leather hunting gear. Over the years, the Bordeaux atelier has broadened its range of products to include special luxury leather cases for wine connoisseurs, bags, and, after creating initial prototypes for us in 2016, our new limited edition luxury handbag, The Peau de Chagrin Noir.
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