Mathematician Henri Poincaré defined creativity as the ability to “combine existing elements with new connections, which are useful”. A simple and precise description which, after reading this interview with Ilda Piat, will explain to you perfectly the work of the De Rigo Product and Design Office. Research, curiosity, experience, talent, exchange: that is how unique models, which can be sold worldwide, are born.
Let’s start with an overview. What does the Product and Design office do?
It is the source of everything! Literally, the collections are born in this department: inspiration is transformed into technical design, based on this we create the prototype by hand and then, if everyone is satisfied, we move on to the industrialisation of the product.
What is the timeline of this process?
From the first drawing to the definition of the entire collection takes about 3 months. After that, there is the industrialisation phase which takes 5/6 months to produce the samples to be distributed to agents and retailers. All this takes place a year before the launch of the products on the market, an aspect which is also the greatest challenge: it means being able to forecast the trends.
How many and who are the professionals who create the new collections at De Rigo? And what is your role?
It is a rather large office: there are 15 professionals coordinated by me and another 2 colleagues. In detail, the team is composed of 7 designers, 3 assistant designers, 5 colour experts. Those who, like me, coordinate the department must always have a clear picture of the work in progress and the requirements of the company: it is fundamental that they be coherent.
How is a new collection born?
Every collection is the result of very different input. In the first place, we analyse the sales data: understanding what sold better and what worse tells us a lot about the preferences of the market. Added to this is the detailed report on the expectations and feedback of the opticians. The research on the trends, then, obviously plays a crucial role. Fairs, fashion shows, websites and industry magazines, cool hunting and our historical archive: all these tools are the source of inspiration for the new collections, proposals which often stem from an intuition on a detail, a decoration, a volume. From all the drawings, generally twice the number of models which will make up the collection, we choose those from which to create the prototype.
What room does talent and personal inspiration have in this process?
The personality, interests, attitudes of those who work in this office are an immense asset to the company. A creative individual must be curious and always searching for something new. This is a creed that also translates into the organisation of the work: we have decided, in fact, to entrust to every designer the planning of the collection which, each time, emphasizes his/her creative inspiration to the maximum.
De Rigo sells its products in more than 100 countries worldwide. Different trends must be highlighted in every country, how do you handle this subject?
When working for a world market it is always hard to respond to all the requests in a single collection. Also because this means managing to anticipate the international trends a year in advance of the launch. It is a challenge that we face by individual brand starting from the analysis of the trends of the countries in which it sells the most: satisfying the needs of those customers is always our priority.
What makes the De Rigo product office unique?
The people, without a doubt. I am happy to be able to emphasize this aspect: here we have created a really special chemistry which is also recognised from the outside. The team is very close, original, there is a strong sense of solidarity and respect. And when there are different ideas, discussion becomes an opportunity to improve.