For Delvaux’s CEO Jean-Marc Loubier, The Joy Is In The Details

Jean-Marc Loubier talks to The Peak about the importance of Delvaux’s retail spaces and creating a novelty that transcends trends.

Jean-Marc Loubier, CEO of Delvaux.

It was a chance encounter in Japan that led Jean-Marc Loubier to Delvaux in the beginning. While passing by a traditional shop window in Ginza, Tokyo, Loubier caught sight of the brand’s Brillant handbag and was struck by its unique shape. 

“What’s interesting is you notice something ageless and very subliminal, yet it can still hold its own even years later,” says Loubier. 

In 2011, Loubier jumped at the opportunity to invest in Delvaux. As its then Executive Chairman, he steered the brand’s renaissance, bringing forth a global expansion.

An industry veteran who has served in executive leadership positions within the LVMH Group, Loubier returned to Delvaux in 2021 as its Chief Executive Officer, after Swiss luxury goods giant Richemont acquired the brand, marking a new chapter for the Belgian fine leather luxury goods house. 


The Delvaux boutique in Pavilion KL.

Delvaux’s potential was something Loubier saw from the very beginning but it would take a clear-cut strategy to revive the once ailing company. “There is an inner beauty that could be worked on. The first thing I did was to re-establish it as a Maison,” he explains. 

“When you say ‘Maison’, it means something which has a clear origin and a know-how,” he adds, stating that Delvaux’s origins should stress what it means to be a Belgian brand. 

The history of Delvaux is older than the modern Belgian state itself. Its story began in 1829, a year before Belgium’s independence, when its founder Charles Delvaux started the business as a leather goods store in Brussels. 


When it comes to Delvaux’s heritage and savoir-faire, Loubier casts a wider net, tying the history of the brand beyond Brussels to Belgium’s Flanders region, once the cradle of the industrial revolution in Europe with its rich tapestry of culture and progressive craftsmanship. 

But Delvaux is not the only luxury house to carry a rich history and heritage to its name, which brings us to the question: does the market really need one more luxury handbag brand? 

“It’s possible provided you come in with something very strong and very clear,” says Loubier. 

Part of this strategy was to create a proximity for people to see the craftsmanship up close. This brought Loubier to establish unique flagship boutiques in some of the world’s most iconic locations, including New York’s Fifth Avenue, Tokyo’s Omotesando Hills, London’s New Bond Street, Paris’ Saint-Honoré, Hong Kong’s K11 MUSEA and more. 

These art-filled boutiques offer a platform for the Maison to showcase the brand’s uncompromising craftsmanship and — similar to Loubier’s first encounter with Delvaux — to create a strong connection with those who stop by to admire. 

It’s remarkable to note how two centuries on from Delvaux’s humble beginnings in Brussels, we’re speaking to Loubier today in Delvaux’s first Malaysian boutique in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. According to Loubier, the time is right to open a store in this part of the world. 


The Ben Storms installation at the Delvaux Pavilion boutique.

“Each Delvaux shop has a personality in itself. This place is not big, but you feel something strong,” he says, showing us around the boutique. 

“Our approach is like that of an architect. An architect needs to have a concept to design something that is supposed to last”

The Maison’s attention to detail is reflected in its first boutique in Kuala Lumpur, with hints of modern Flemish interpretations in the furniture and hints of Asian architectural influences in the woodwork. The boutique’s design principles clearly extend to Delvaux’s approach in setting the framework of its handbag designs. 

“Our approach is like that of an architect. An architect needs to have a concept to design something that is supposed to last,” says Loubier. 

Although, creating things with the mere purpose of durability can sometimes be driven only by the practicalities of design, which is why Loubier stresses on bringing a kind of novelty that goes beyond the idea of fashion trends, a characteristic seen in the brand’s Brillant, Tempête, Pin and The L’XXL, an oversized interpretation of the Brillant handbag by Parisian designer Jean Colonna. 

The Delvaux Tempete XL.

When asked if he sees a rise in demand for a more discreet form of luxury in the Southeast Asian market, Loubier was quick to give his take, “You’ll be surprised, we are not quiet luxury,” he says with a smile. 

“If we are quiet, you don’t see a presentation like that,” he says gesturing to the art installation of sculptural metal cushions by Belgian artist Ben Storms stacked beautifully in a section of the boutique. 

“We question this whole idea, our universe must be very rich. We always evolve, we innovate, we are pioneers. But what we are not, is gimmicky,” says Loubier. 

In a way, Delvaux’s philosophy of bringing tradition to the future leaves no room for superfluity in the way the Maison carries itself in the world of luxury, and for the Delvaux customer, there is a certain joy in knowing that.


This article was originally published in The Peak Feb 2024 issue. 


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