A CONVERSATION WITH OLIVIER FABRE - 4TH GENERATION MASTER GLOVE MAKER
AVAILABLE ON FUSALP.COM
COLLECTION FUSALP + Maison Fabre
Olivier Fabre is the representative of the fourth generation in a family of master glove makers, founded in 1924, that hails from Millau a southern French town. At the helm of Maison Fabre, he is a fervent defender of the artisans that continue the tradition of French savoir-faire.
Who is Olivier Fabre ?
I am the grandson of the founders of Maison Fabre, who since 1924 have designed and manufactured gloves, that have become celebrated over the decades in all four corners of the planet.
I pay extremely close attention to the talented craftsmen and women who drive the fashion industry, I myself am a committed craftsman, who champions the recognition of European expertise
As a journalism student, you joined the family business in 1998. What made you change your course ?
From a tender age, I often visited the glove making factory to learn how to work leather, and observe my father and grandparents in their daily work. For me the workshop was a joyful place where the seamstresses chatted behind sewing machines, as the cutters finessed the leather with sure gestures before making the cut. I became familiar with all of the products in the store.
In 1998 I couldn’t remain indifferent to the decline in activity in the family enterprise. It was at that moment that I chose to join the Maison Fabre team to support its recovery.
Along with my father Louis Fabre and brother Jean Marc, we have initiated prestigious collaborations, and are committed to a sustainable collection renewal rate, boasting 80 new models per winter. Closely guarding the quality of materials and manufacturing processes are at the heart of our ethos.
Training is a key element in the sustainability of our business, and it can only be accomplished through transmission. Recently we called on glove makers from Portugal (hand-stitching) and Hungary (similar tradition as us) to valorise the craft on a European scale, while launching a training program of our own recruiting one young talent per year in our Millau workshop.
We are constantly on the lookout for new technologies such as : washable leather, tactile leather, new plant based materials and faux fur. We are proudly associated with the Tricolor program, the purpose of which is to revalue locally sourced wool and leather from Aveyron or neighbouring counties.
By 2020 we will recycle 100% of our scraps and will be phasing out plastic usage.
Like Maison Fabre founded in 1924, Fusalp is a company emblematic of an incredible heritage of craftsmanship.What does our brand inspire in you?
At Maison Fabre as at Fusalp, customer confidence and satisfaction are at the heart of our concerns. As a result, we hold ourselves to a higher standard in terms of quality, technicality and design.
With its heritage based in the Alps and the continued investment in innovation Fusalp is the undisputed reference in the universe of French sportswear brands, as well as the community of connaisseurs abroad.
The collaboration between Maison Fabre and Fusalp was obvious. What values and skills do you think unite us ?
Of course the collaboration with Fusalp was completely natural for us. Our recognisable identity is in the design of our gloves, which we use as a platform to express the talents of our artisans without distorting the functionality of our product.
The meeting of the minds between Fusalp and Maison Fabre is that of two French companies that share a common bond and heritage of a unique know how, which was expressed though our collection of after ski gloves.
The Maison Fabre x Fusalp collaboration represents a year long study on design and technical specifications. We searched for an exceptional local leather, treated to resist snow, with a sustainable, responsible production chain.We finally found our ideal leather working with Pechdo tannery in Millau. Each pair required several hours of detailed, painstaking work.
Your reputation as a Master Glove maker has crossed oceans. Maison Fabre gloves have been worn by the biggest Hollywood stars.Any stories to share ?
Of course we have tons of stories, we have been dressing stars of fashion, art, and cinema as well as royals for almost a century.
In 1965, during the filming of “La Grande Vadrouille” in the neighbouring county of Lozére we had a surprise visit of Mme De Funés accompanied by then first lady, Madame Pompidou from Paris in a Rolls-Royce ! They left with a trunk full of gloves: ”We are going to make the people of Paris very happy!” concluded Madame Pompidou, as she was leaving.
We have dressed some of the most famous hands in cinema : the green gloves with embroidered cuffs in “ La folie des Grandeurs” (1971), the teal gloves worn by Steve McQueen in “The Thomas Crown Affair” (1968), those of Sarah Jessica Parker in the first “Sex and the City” film (2008).
In 2013 we produced a reproduction of the magic gloves from the classic Jean Cocteau film “The Beauty and the Beast”, at the request of the Cocteau Committee, in honour of the 50th anniversary of his death.
I donated this exceptional, gold embroidered, Swarovski festooned pair to the local Glove making Museum in Millau. Our rare glove making know-how permits us to respond any number of unusual requests.
Did you have any special favorites from the Fall/Winter 2019-20 collection ?
I really like the Fusalp brand, as well as what it conveys in terms of values and history, brought about from the years of success in French alpine skiing.It is an iconic, much loved brand.
From the slopes to the city streets it’s the best !
The Fall/Winter 2019-20 collection is urban, it represents a well rounded wardrobe where fashion and technological innovation merge in chic and contemporary pieces: jackets, sweaters, hats not to mention the tapered pants cut in a streetwear style.
My favorites are the jackets which elegantly mix black and midnight blue, and the many accessories: ski helmets, goggles, socks and of course the gloves. For the first time the brand is offering snow resistant gloves for the town - because the slopes are never that far away after all !
Crédits photos : Théo Saffroy