What’s next for French jeweller, Fred? Windy Aulia sits down with Valérie Samuel, Artistic Director and Vice President of Fred (and the granddaughter of the brand’s founder) to find out
You returned to Fred as its Artistic Director and Vice President at the end of last year after being away for about 20 years. How does it feel to be back at the House?
There’s a lot of emotion, of course. This opportunity allows me to express my passion for the brand and the amazing team at Fred. I have always stayed close to the brand, even from before, by meeting with the different presidents. Actually, I started my career at Fred: I worked with my grandfather and father for 10 years, before I went my own way. And now I’m so happy and lucky to be back. I guess it has been a dream since I was a little girl.
What are the changes that you’re planning for the House?
I don’t think there’re any changes; it’s more about bringing new energy. I want to continue what has been done in terms of re-building the brand, and I would like to bring it back to its roots and DNA. Since re-joining Fred, my focus has been on toying with the existing collection, for example with the 8°0 novelties and Success double-finger ring. Of course, I’m dying to present the new 2019 collection very soon. It’s all about a new silhouette to express the brand’s modernity and it’s also about versatility so that you can wear the jewellery from day to night, or for casual as well as dressy occasions. That’s the new page I want to write for Fred now. I always [bring it back] to fashion because
jewellery, to me, is always a part of style; you can’t see it separately.
Besides the sun, sand and sea, which are an integral part of the brand, what are your other sources of inspiration?
I can find inspiration anywhere. For example, I can take a picture of the ceiling and suddenly get inspired. It can be an object or someone on the street. I’m all about the creative accidents. Fashion, too, is always inspiring for me. I like the way fashion moves and evolves. I was just thinking about the set at the recent Dior couture show, where the toiles were being displayed; that was really interesting.
Fred prides itself as a modern jeweller. How do you plan to ensure it continues to stay current?
Fred’s interchangeable jewellery is already a point of differentiation for us. It’s really in the now and it’s really us.We are also unique in that the brand talks to both woman and man equally. Today, 50 percent of Force 10 sales is sold to men and worn by men. So for 2019 novelty, we will have rings that can be paired. You see, being modern for us can be two things. Firstly, it’s in the approach to our designs. Secondly, and more importantly, it’s in how the jewels are worn. That’s why I feel that my grandfather was such a visionary: He believed that jewellery should be worn and not kept in the safe.
Clockwise from top: White gold and diamond Force 10 necklace; pink gold and diamond 8°0 bracelet; pink gold and diamond 8°0 earrings; yellow gold Success double ring; white gold and diamond Success double ring; white and yellow gold Success bangle; white gold and diamond Success bangle, Fred