Peau de Chagrin is inspired by Honoré de Balzac’s novel of the same name. Our designs are intended to last generations and are handmade in a limited amount. We believe that each of our creations should be as environmentally sustainable and socially responsible as possible.
Our limited edition luxury objects such as handbags and scarves are made by the finest European artisans, masters of traditional methods and curious to explore new processes. Like us they believe that raw materials, should be of the highest quality and they seek to sublimate their essential qualities, be it vegetable tanned leather or Crêpe de Chine.
But let's go back to the book: La Peau de Chagrin...
Romantic sense and postmodern sensibility
By Martha Vasiliadi
In our fragmented world of constant contextual switch, one could ask oneself what is the purpose of reading and benefiting from classical literature. Or, more specifically, how can we read, rethink and reconsider the imaginative, paroxysmal, irrational and lyrical fiction of the Romantic nineteenth century in our daily lives? In the vast repertory of Romantic stories, there are heroes and literary characters that, despite their anachronistic features, remain relevant in today's constant perplexity. Among these suicidal, youthful, self-destructive famous heroes of romanticism, Raphaël de Valentin, Balzac’s protagonist in one of his early novels, “La Peau de Chagrin” remains a symbol of “hubris and repression, of hope and despair”.
La Peau de Chagrin appeared in print in 1831 and immediately gained the critics' and public’s acclaim. Commercial success was not only due to Balzac’s genius in exciting the interest of his readers by providing extracts of his novel in journals, but also because the novel, a “conte philosophique” (a philosophical tale), brilliantly combined the plot of a fantastic narrative with the author’s symbolic realism.
The plot is simple yet superbly crafted: the romanticised, doomed young hero, from fallen aristocratic stock and of unrevealed poetic nature, after losing his last penny at the gaming tables, decides to throw himself in the Seine. However, on the way to the intendedlocation of his suicide, by chance he enters an antique shop where a wizened centenarian antiquarian appears and offers Raphaël a magic animal skin which lends the novel its title. The leather talisman grants its owner's every wish, but once the desire materializes in reality, the leather itself shrinks as does the life of its owner. Tragically exposed to this Faustian bargain, the tormented hero wishes for enormous wealth, social success, love and passion. Thus, every wish brings him closer to his end.
The Peau de Chagrin limited edition Tan and Noir handbags come with a copy of La Peau de Chagrin.
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 limited edition Peau de Chagrin Noir luxury handbag is made in Bordeaux, the largest city of south west Franc, 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 accessories.
The limited edition Peau de Chagrin Tan luxury handbag is made in the Swiss Jura, by a single master craftsmen. The Jura is an area with a long standing tradition of precision watch making in small ateliers.
Our skins, from European animals, are prepared by a Belgian tannery using the vegetable tanning method. All of the leather is 100% chrome free.