Armed for seduction

MIKE ABOUT TOWN - Mike Toledo - The Philippine Star
Armed for seduction
First Fauré Le Page store in the Philippines located at Ayala Malls (Greenbelt).
Photo from Ayala Malls Facebook page

Fauré Le Page (pronounced Foray-Lu-Padj), the oldest Parisian luxury leather goods maker, started out as a firearms manufacturer.

The guns that they made, however, were not meant to be used as weapons of war but were, rather, for ceremonial purposes. For fashion, if you must, as appearances before royalty, or in ceremonies and events of the time, necessitated “packing a piece,” so to speak, as part of the uniform or attire.

The Arquebusier and Fourbisseur house was founded by Louis Pigny in 1717 under the reign of Louis XV. Since then, it has become a part of the rich history of France.

It was known as the “master gunsmith to Kings and Princes” and remained with the same family until 1913. According to Forbes, seven generations of the same family for two centuries “built the great excellence, traditions and history of this unique French luxury maison.”

From a maker of firearms, holsters and gun bags, the company eventually went into the manufacture of leather goods such as clutches and handbags.

The author with Fauré Le Page president and creative director Augustin de Buffévent and Store Specialists, Inc. president Anton Huang.

From 1925, several other families succeeded one another over the company, and in 2012, a Frenchman by the name of Augustin De Buffévent acquired the company.

Now, Monsieur De Buffévent is a passionate and curious gentleman who upon acquiring the company, was always trying to discover new ways to “seduce” women and his customers.

As president and creative designer of Fauré Le Page, De Buffévent is reinventing the direction — the future of the house — without detracting from its heritage and place in French history.  Hence, the brand motto: “Armed for Seduction.”

I recently met Monsieur De Buffévent at the opening of the Fauré Le Page shop in Greenbelt 4, Makati, and he struck me as a humorous man — something which reflects in the current product lines of the brand. Oui, Matilda, the world-renowned French luxury brand has found a home in the Philippines, and this is thanks to the dedicated efforts of my good friend, Anton Huang, president and CEO of Stores Specialists, Inc. (SSI), the leading specialty store retailer in the Philippines that has 85 brands (and counting) under its wings.

This new shop is touted as a flagship, so we expect more branches to open. At least, one does not need to jet all the way to 21 Rue Cambon in Paris to satisfy one’s fancy for the brand’s distinguished yet fun product lines.

The author with Makati Mayor Abby Binay.

De Buffévent himself said that they like to incorporate humorous allusions to their collections. The brand has a weapons heritage, and weapons are linked to a language. Who was it who said that “the purpose of language is to woo women”? Ahh, wooing women (and men) with a Fauré Le Page “weapon” in hand may not guarantee instant success but will surely elevate you several notches up in the game.

In the past, men who appeared before the King of France had to carry a weapon —a Fauré Le Page pistol, if you must — to show the King that they were willing to take up arms and fight for him and for kingdom.

Nowadays, a Fauré Le Page piece — be it a tote or sling from the most recent collection — is a weapon, an arm for seduction, for enticement, not just of women but of men as well, cutting across gender stereotypes.

Monsieur De Buffévent reminded us that the best weapon for seduction is humor, but nothing can titillate the senses more than something from Fauré Le Page. Touche!

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