Living in Northern California we don't think twice about scheduling an appointment at a hot new winery, to see for ourselves what the fuss is all about. So when Xavier and Aurelia invited us to a party at their house in the French countryside, we insisted they find time to show us the factory. What a better way to learn about the product than visiting the mother ship. We like to work, can't you tell?
But first things first. We must talk about the party!
It turned out we were attending Xavier's Dad B-Day extravaganza, and what a spectacular event it was. The hosts were gracious, the setting was spectacular, the company was impeccable and the food and wine were, well, simply out of this world. Only in France!
So, right after you drive past Chateau Chambord, start looking for Chateau DeromeBrenner...
Chateau Chambord in the morning mist.
Xavier Derome welcomes guests.
Meeting the family.
Old wine was like the Loire river - slow and beautiful.
Our new love ... je t aime', Cour-Cheverny Moelleux.
Xavier manages the kids.
Few moving pictures.
Party in full swing.
Monsieur Derome Sr. kept the glasses full at all times. We like him a lot.
You can never have too much cheese.
Aurelia's favorite dog... It's is very old but Aurelia hopes the dog lives forever.
Aurelia and her brother-in-law, the man with Magnum of old Champagne, none other than Chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall himself.
Hugh is a very cool guy who is into sustainable farming, land sharing and humane treatment of animals, among other things.
You must check out Hugh's page and then call Food Network and insist, no, demand they bring his show to the States!
Vielle Prune....TRES DANGEROUS!
With a glass of something, we all ended this fantastic day by the fire. Navigating French countryside and avoiding "animaux de chasse" was not easy, yet we made back to hotel without a "biche" or a "lievre" on the hood of our Citroën .
Now, let's talk about visiting the factory.
Tucked away on a street that leads into the forest, the factory is an example of efficiency and self-reliance. With more than 15 years of experience, Xavier Derome has created a special environment where beautiful acetate frames can be created.
Ah, acetate! It all starts from sheets of acetate of cellulose, or Zyl, and to make a great frame you must start from great ingredients. Xavier and Aurelia insist on using only the finest Mazzucchelli acetate from Italy. Nothing else will do. In most cases they even buy entire stock of certain colors to make sure no other company is able to duplicate their color schemes.
To become a pair of spectacles plastics must undergo incredible number of transformations - lamination, cutting, buffing, polishing, assembly... When we said earlier we were blown away, we weren't kidding. The amount of manual labor is simply mind boggling and every little misstep means in the trash it goes.
Sometimes people ask us why plastic frames are so expensive, and in the case of DeromeBrenner the answer was always simple - their frames are so beautiful that from the moment you look at them you know you're dealing with something special. Now, after seeing Xavier and his team manufacturing frames by hand, we have even more respect for these guys. You rock!!
Above and below, Xavier Derome shows off his skills.
Frames from New Deal collection are ready for final shaping and inspection.
DeromeBrenner with stainless steel parts ???? OUI! Coming in 2009.
Unfinished temple from Huggy collection. The new colors are simply sublime!!!
Buffing wheels make the world go round.
New color of Huggy 4.
Unfinished frames from STARDUST collection.
Final destination - stock room. From here DeromeBrenner frames will travel to the best optical stores in the world.