Alexandre Charriol graces the pages of Baccarat Magazine‘s September 2012 issue and offers us an insight into his much-awaited return to the company. As Charriol’s new Visual Director, he shares his story on his roots, passion for the arts, and his desire to elevate the brand to new heights…
Alexandre Charriol, son of Philippe Charriol, brushed off the family brand as a teenager, deciding to pursue an artistic career in New York instead. He made a name for himself as an artist with contemporary impressionist works featuring geometric lines and contrasting colours.
Last year, though, the younger Charriol returned to Hong Kong – where he lived as a child – and joined the family company as visual director.
Founded by Philippe nearly 30 years ago, Charriol is renowned for its timepieces, jewellery and small accessories, and the second generation of the family are bringing in fresh ideas and artistic inspirations. Together with his father and elder sister Coralie, Alexandre is determined to lead the luxury brand to greater success.
A person is born with artistic ability; artistic sense, however, is learned. Charriol feels very lucky that he was born into a family who loves art.
“I travelled a lot with my parents when I was young, and during those trips they would force me to go to museums,” he recalls. “Sometimes I just slept in the corner, but no matter what the atmosphere just being there nurtured an artistic sense in me.” Charriol is also grateful that his parents did not set many rules or expectations for their children; he was encouraged to pursue what he enjoyed.
The young French-American artist has an innate curiosity. He loves to observe the world, paying attention to every single detail. “My creative inspiration may not necessarily be a big idea or something that deeply stimulates my sensations,” he notes. Creativity might happen in a spark of a moment. Charriol translates these tiny inspiring details in daily life into remarkable pieces of art.
As visual director, Charriol has been charged with infusing the brand with an up-to-date artistic creativity. He is keen to bring what he has learned in New York and around the world to the company. Apart from providing artistic support in product development, the young man will champion new technology as a means to strengthen links between the brand and its customers. In today’s world, technology is the most important vehicle in human communication and Charriol
is boldly adopting high-tech means and utilising online platforms to stay in touch.
Human Flow, the series of paintings the artist has been working on for the past few years, reflects his view of human relationships. “In my paintings, everyone touches each other. We must be in touch with other people; we cannot live on our own.”
Onboard for the past six months, the younger Charriol has been involved in restructuring the company and preparing for further expansion in China. In recent years, Charriol has opened more than 100 boutiques on the mainland. Apart from the watches and jewellery for which it is renowned, the brand has launched a fashion line and is now selling shoes, leather goods and wine. It is also updating its image, creating products that are a little more edgy and interesting to young people in order to appeal to a more youthful market.
The brand appears to be well positioned. The economic crises in the US and Europe have taken their toll on the luxury market, but thanks to the proactive moves of the Charriol family the future of Charriol the brand looks assured.
As an artist, Alexandre Charriol has a very different definition of success to most people. “If you smile before you go to bed at night, this is success,” he states. “For me, selling a painting does not make you successful. But finishing an art work that you feel satisfied with, this is success.” He adds that that this does not happen very often, but when it does he cherishes the moment. The smile on his face when he talks about his work at Charriol is a clear indication of the brand’s rosy future.