For Fall/Winter 2016, Victorinox draws inspiration from the tension between modern and heritage, a theme very prevalent in Switzerland.
Victorinox as a company values tradition and marries it with innovation, finding its unique balance with the Modern Craft collection. This was the inspiration and starting point for The Makers campaign. The collection comprises reinterpretations of old-world artisans’ iconic and purpose-made workwear teamed with modern constructions and innovative fabrics. To celebrate this, Victorinox looks towards modern-day artisans and craftsmen with a similar working philosophy.
The Makers campaign honours the global creative class – and the movement – with four contemporary craftsmen, each accomplished in their own respective fields, and each with a global following. They are Stephen Kenn, Quentin Bisch, Nenad Mlinarevic, and Kyle Bean.
On top of creating expertly crafted products, makers bring back character and connect the consumer with the products they purchase in a more personal way. Knowing who makes what you buy – and how they do it – makes that product more real and gives it emotional solidity. The global maker movement is one that’s growing rapidly, and products crafted by makers around the world are seen to be just as desirable and valued as luxury goods. The makers chosen for the Victorinox campaign all develop craft by keeping innovation at the forefront, whether it be in terms of process, technical development, or materials used.
Victorinox has had craftsmanship at its core since Karl Elsener opened a cutler’s workshop in Ibach, Schwyz, in 1884. Swiss Army knives – the sort of trusted tools makers rely on – became design icons precisely because their form stems from their functionality, and because of their timeless quality. Victorinox apparel, timepieces, fragrances, and travel gear all follow the same principles.
The company explores the concept of The Makers further with its magazine for Fall/Winter 2016/2017, called Victorinox, The Makers. The magazine itself is an example of craftsmanship, including a cover and insert by paper artist Kyle Bean. In the magazine, Mark Hooper, editor of Hole & Corner – the publication dedicated to craftsmanship – says: “Customers are increasingly showing they care about where and how the things they consume are made… It is the deep-rooted care applied at every level that makes the real difference to a modern, discerning audience. That is where the real value lies for them.”
Meet the makers collaborating with Victorinox
The Canadian-born, Los Angeles-based furniture-maker has a real affinity for the heritage and process of his craft. In his first seating collection, the Inheritance Collection, he used World War II military canvas as cushion covers over an exposed sofa framework that revealed the handmade workings of the seats. He often uses vintage materials such as antique brass and aged copper, and emphasizes the endurance of objects and the aesthetic worth of the functional. He frequently collaborates with other makers, both in LA (Longjourney menswear, denim designer Simon Miller) and around the world (Truck Furniture in Osaka). Stephen Kenn: “Military-salvage fabrics have already been used for something that speaks to the world, and to throw that fabric away would be to discard a part of history. To give it another life keeps it in people’s minds.” Stephen has collaborated with Victorinox to create three unique pieces that reflect the adaptable practicality of products by the creator of the Swiss Army Knife: a desk/drafting table, a chair/stepladder, and a multifaceted storage column. The collection is called Stephen Kenn for Victorinox. Stephen hosted a workshop for Victorinox on “Curiosity Led Design” at Wilderness Festival (Oxfordshire, UK, August 4–7). Stephen Kenn for Victorinox is available to purchase via www.stephenkenn.com
Strasbourg-born Quentin gave up a career directing a theater company to train at the renowned perfumery school in Paris run by Givaudan. He is now one of the Swiss company’s leading perfumers, having created fragrances for the likes of Missoni and Thierry Mugler. He is part chemist, part philosopher – making scents that tap into our memories and trigger emotions through our bodies’ limbic systems.
Quentin Bisch collaborated with Victorinox to create Victorinox Rock, a fragrance for men that has an aura of strength, freshness, and adventure. He used extract of artemisia leaf to suggest mountain air, with masculine cedar wood and lavender, among other ingredients, to suggest Alpine woods and meadows.
The two-Michelin-starred chef of Restaurant Focus, in the Park Hotel Vitznau on Lake Lucerne, made a brave decision in 2015 – to use nothing but Swiss produce in his kitchen. By working closely with local suppliers, and foraging for ingredients himself, he is able to craft his dishes from plant to plate. One specialty contains 26 different vegetables, each prepared separately in the way that best accentuates its flavour. When it comes to handmaking, Nenad does not stint on hard work.
Nenad Mlinarevic: “We emptied the entire kitchen. Everything that had not been raised or grown in Switzerland had to go. No pepper, no olive oil, no salmon. Our regional cuisine takes us out of the kitchen more frequently now – to the market, to our producers or out into the fields to pick and collect ingredients ourselves.”
London-based artist Kyle specialises in what he calls “tactile illustration”, in particular working with paper as his medium, but also using media as varied as wood and feathers. Having trained at a time when digital illustration was the prevailing trend, he preferred to get back to the physical art-making he enjoyed as a child. He is in demand as an illustrator, having worked for many well-known international brands in the world of fashion (Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Hermès) and elsewhere (Google, Emirates, Peugeot and Lloyds Bank), as well as leading publications (Vogue, Wired, The New York Times and Esquire).
Kyle Bean: “I have conversations with people in the construction industry, talking with equal passion about wood grain – them for structural reasons, me for how it works as an art material!”
Kyle has collaborated with Victorinox to create the cover of Victorinox, The Makers, the company’s magazine for Fall/Winter 2016/2017. It is a layered diorama of the Swiss landscape made from paper shapes representing folding knives and the workings of a watch – as well as a kirigami (folded and cut paper) model of the company’s factory in Ibach. Kyle also hosted a paper art workshop for Victorinox at the Wilderness Festival (Oxfordshire, UK, August 4–7).