Once upon a time there was a workshop
It's a story with multiple settings, a journey on the waves of a story that never ends; a bulldog that always lands on its feet; a couple who never stop creating and stick together; a family story, which begins with that of a leatherworker.
At a very young age, Bertrand was introduced to the arts of bespoke shoemaking, and pushed the door of the Atelier Weston, Paris, at the age of 20. An age when one dreams of grand boulevards, trodden briskly, wearing daring spikes. He made his debut there, teasing with ease and skill the busseto and the tranchet.
From workshop to workshop, he joined John Lobb, creating unique models according to the wishes and measurements of a demanding clientele. An apprenticeship in rigor which, over time, makes the man a highly qualified craftsman, now eager to undertake.
And he met Anne, a designer fresh out of the Ecole du Louvre. She becomes his muse and inspires his most beautiful ideas. Together, everything becomes possible. Anne discovers the work of leather and learns, hanging from Bertrand's lips, to lay down on grained paper the sketches of a first line of fashion accessories, which they dress in skins, leathers that become the flesh of trendy objects.
A loving collaboration
Two talents meet and, as a matter of course, at the dawn of the 90s, the Anne Vignes brand is born.
A name that signs ultra-worked belts, unusual bracelets, dressy clutches... Accessories with the same capital letter as that of their creator. A pioneering style, which mixes materials with audacity and contrast.
,In the reference salons, they are quickly noticed and chosen by the stylists of Marie Claire, Elle or Madame Figaro, while the multi-brand boutiques of the capital (Franck & Fils, Victoire, Le Bon Marché), in search of trendy accessories, fall in love with their creations.
The Vignes couple became brand creators, in the plural, by presenting themselves to major houses such as Paul Ka and Regina Rubens, for whom they created entire collections of accessories.
A couple of bohemian artisans
Then, very quickly, the vital breath of bohemian craftsmen takes over, and a desire for independence stings them; a state of mind specific to those who master creation and production. against the current, they are moving away from mass distribution, accepting no compromise on the quality of their products, which do not bow their backs under the yoke of low prices. Very simply, Anne and Bertrand open "The leather workshop, creators of rare objects", in Nice; a boutique workshop with know-how as raw material. Passers-by stop in front of the croco belts, an exotic leather that the couple works with modernity and whose scales are stars in the window.
From one hemisphere to another: Madagascar
Bertrand was then asked to take over the production workshop of a crocodile farm in Madagascar. A crazy idea, which, in the early 2000s, sent the Vignes couple and their two daughters to Antananarivo.
On site, it’s a real challenge. Bertrand transmits his knowledge to workers who work gropingly. He tackles export with the production of collections created by Anne, who plays with the themes and colors of the Indian Ocean. Without limits, the designer invents a line all in crocodile painted by hand, scale by scale, and draws buckles in solid silver inspired by Malagasy scenes. The workers learn quickly and the collections of the Hilton store in Antananarivo are a great success.
Two years after their arrival, the tide is turning. the red island, victim of an unstable political climate, is no longer as welcoming for Anne and Bertrand, who return to Paris.
A new adventure stands out as they sail... with the leitmotif "Our strength is us", they always take their know-how and their profession with them.
In 2003, it was at the Saint-Ouen flea market, at Colonial Concept, that leather goods found an echo in their universe. A collaboration that gives birth to a series of unique creations and offers their collectors the Out of Africa spirit: upholstered furniture, chests of drawers, coffee tables and consoles, designed by a leather craftsman, marked with an exotic imprint.
Nice leather goods
Then, it is under the sun of the Côte d'Azur, in Nice, that the couple put down their suitcases, one last time. A Leatherworker in Nice.
“L’atelier V I G N E S” is settling in rue Antoine-Gautier, in the Antiques district, a stone’s throw from the sea that rocked their first steps. A small workshop where they continue to create for Colonial Concept, and now subcontract for the Parisian brand "Un jour un sac", making bag handles and high-end tote bags in original leather.
In 2005, they opened their first concept store. it proudly bears their name: VIGNES was born rue Emmanuel-Philibert. A workshop boutique, but also a cabinet of curiosities. Among the rare objects brought back from Madagascar, bags and collections of exotic leather accessories surprise their customers; a clientele that remembers and rediscovers them with delight.
Big ideas call for big ways: the Vignes couple team up with a third party and move a few streets further, even closer to the sea, in the port district. A universe that sticks to their skin, and that they are the only ones to have; customers adhered to it so much that VIGNES opened a boutique in Paris, in 2010, boulevard Saint-Germain, then in Saint-Tropez… The brand develops, but gradually escapes the control of its creators...
A new transformation on the Cours Saleya
In 2014, leaving only their names on Rue Bavastro, Anne and Bertrand Vignes brought L'Atelier du croco to the spotlight and moved to Cours Saleya.
A new concept that offers a true made-to-measure service, in a small cocoon-like workshop that has become the go-to address for fine leather goods. The skins always come from the same supplier as Hermès, and are selected with the same quality requirements.
Bertrand is a reference in the creation and manufacture of watch straps, Anne designs new models faithful to the family brand.
Their daughter Emma, 21, joins the workshop and brings her style, sober and modern. his ideas are added to the timeless models of the couple. She created the No bag, which has become the star model of the workshop: the canvas bag that we have all recovered, revisited and declined in leather – from exotic leathers to bull leather, always with very nice finishes.
Sophistication is over, the new creations of Les Vignes stick to the times, are more reasonable but remain contemporary, and universal...
Curious about everything, the trio multiplies hybrid creations and develops a bicycle bag, which appeals to urban adventurers, and a Moleskine cover protector, a new friend for writers. the first lines of a new story for the Vignes family, which remains faithful to its universe.
The shop also generously exhibits some designer friends, with star products being Sophie Digard's hand-crocheted scarves, embroidered with incredible patterns.
We also find the world of Vines “outside the walls” during a collaboration with Marc Le Bihan, for whom they created a line of glasses cases in exotic leathers and skins.
L’Atelier du croco has the wind in its sails and the sun behind it. a unique concept where handmade, rare products, accessories and color reign. A universe well anchored on the saleya course, which testifies to a know-how acquired throughout a nomadic experience. A universe always in progress, curious and assertive, behind the door of a workshop under glass, at the crossroads of cruises.
A few steps from the Mediterranean Sea, the Cours Saleya rises above the Promenade des Anglais. It has become a hot spot on the Côte d'Azur. People come from all over the world to browse the flea market, have a drink on a sunny terrace, shop there... and push the door of the Atelier du croco. A door held by Dowe, the English bulldog of the family, who also offers the best of welcomes to passers-by, travellers, friends and neighbours.