Born in 1974 in Paris, to an artistic family (a father who worked in photography and a painter mother), Samuel Gassmann studied History of Art at the Sorbonne. Starting out as an exhibition curator, he also produced short reports on cultural themes for TV arts magazine Metropolis (Arte).
In 2007, he began delving into the origins of the “smallest item” of men’s apparel, the cufflink, as a potential project to pitch to Arte. A visit to the last plant still producing mother-of-pearl in France inspired him with the idea of reinstating the cufflink. Already possessed of a keen interest in fashion and the possibilities of textiles and styles, he created his eponymous brand in September 2009, founded on this small mother-of-pearl accessory that conveys a discreet sense of luxury.
The hallmark of discreet luxury
This is how he envisages every design he puts his name to. The cufflinks feature unostentatious mother-of-pearl or, indeed, any other surface that appeals to his creativity, keeping silver or bronze for the invisible links, concealed by the shirt cuff. The same applies to all his other projects: when he designs a tie, its stitching conceals a rich profusion of silk (no fewer than nine folds). His bow ties are ornamented with a silver clasp that remains unseen, beneath the collar. And while his rings may be lavishly studded with diamonds, they nestle deep within the hollows of the band, only visible when the ring is opened out. This is the concept of discreet luxury, deliberately concealed, belonging only to its possessor. A far cry from brand logos and blatant display.
All Samuel Gassmann’s products are made by hand in his Paris workshop. This is a place unique of its kind, dedicated solely to producing this men’s accessory. Self-taught enthusiast Samuel Gassmann has learned to use his tools with all the delicacy demanded by mother-of-pearl and by the other materials he employs, from leather to silver.
He polishes, buffs, sands, assembles, sheathes, enamels, punches, wields a blowtorch or works gold leaf. And when other skills are required for the good of the piece, skilled craftspeople are near at hand: a stone-setter in the Carreau du Temple, a founder in rue Richer, an engraver in rue Montmartre, a 3D modeller in rue de la Fontaine au Roi…