Before it became a world renowned brand name, Lalique was the name of a genius craftsman and an amazing artist. The name Lalique still evokes transparency, enchantment and French refinement. He brought new techniques and new materials evolving in an extensive iconographic repertoire. His astounding work that rivals inventiveness and audacity made him the creator of modern jewellery and decoration.
Born in 1860, René Jules Lalique is known for his creations of glass art, jewellery, perfume bottles and vases. A genius artisan taking inspiration from Japanese art and symbolist references, he revolutionized many fields, including jewellery, in their shape, theme and material. Lalique created a unique art form mixing applied arts, graphic arts, poetry and fashion design.
In the 1890s, Lalique was recognized as one of France’s best Art Nouveau jewellery designers. Deeply in love with the various forms of nature, he studied botany and drew flowers and insects. He wanted to emulate morning dew, shimmering water or butterfly’s wings on women’s ornaments. With that inspiration, he gave birth to mermaids and dragonfly fairies with a shudder of life. The fauna and flora, the natural light and the curved lines clearly defined the Art Nouveau movement. This movement aimed to bring artistic beauty outside the museums and into people’s daily life, including cities, houses and closets. This is why Art Nouveau is considered an absolute art style, using applied arts and taking form into utilitarian fields like decoration, furniture, architecture, fashion and jewellery.
After an amazing career as a jewellery maker, in 1905, Lalique opened a shop at Place Vendôme where he began to exhibit glass objects that were not jewels.
Noticing the beauty of Lalique’s works of art, the foremost French perfumer François Coty asked him to design a perfume bottle and in doing so, thanks to the development of the glass industry, the revolutionizing of the perfume industry had just begun.
As a result, Lalique was to become an Art Deco master as perfumery led him to decoration. His technique of contrast between clear and frosted glass is recognized as a triumph for the Art Deco movement.
He passed with success from Art Nouveau to the more geometric Art Deco via a smooth evolution.
Lalique designed the interiors of many luxurious hotels and some more special places like the St. Matthew’s Church at Millbrook in Jersey and he decorated some of the famous Orient Express’ dining carriages with glass panels inlaid with Cuban mahogany.
After his death in 1945, his son took over the firm and developed the crystal glasswork embedding all of his father’s knowledge of the art of glass manufacturing into amazing crystals that furnish with luxury the homes of the many who appreciate his works of art. The company today still takes inspiration, as it was for its creator’s, from the three “F”, the Female form, the Flora and the Fauna creating works of art that truly reflect nature’s most beautiful forms.