From Siberia to Paris, a saga of pioneers and visionaries.
Gregory Salomon, a Russian dissident, is exiled with his family to Siberia, a foothold and rite of passage for fur and pelt merchants since the 13th century. He devotes all his energy to the region’s most established trade.
Gregory Salomon decides to emigrate to Paris, France. Jovial, charismatic and visionary, Gregory Salomon is an extraordinary character like someone from a Dostoevsky novel. In Saint Petersburg, a hub for auctions, he wears the number 2, enshrining him as the most senior fur buyer of all time. Gregory Salomon, the patriarch of a family of seven brothers, pioneer, adventurer who “conquered” the East, travels the length and breadth of Russia by train and sleigh, buying up the best fur and also, as a man with great flair, buying what he feels will set new trends (among other master strokes, he was to launch the fashion of sea otter fur, which was totally out dated at this time). The entire profession respects and follows him. Right up until World War II, the visionary lays the foundations for a legendary saga.
With his wife, children and stock, the patriarch and intrepid fur dealer travels through the “zone libre”…in the German officers’ wagon. He then reaches the United States.
In Paris, Boris Salomon, second generation, takes over the business just as astrakhan fur, the height of fashion yesteryear, falls swiftly out of favour. The fearless fur trader takes a risk and launches the trend for specked fur – panther, ocelot, jaguar, cheetah et cetera – which he brings back from his trips around the world and has tanned in France. Dior and Révillon, the most discerning Houses selling luxury goods, are among his loyal customers.
The deeply intuitive man’s other feat is conquering China. An adventurer like his father – curiosity, boldness and innovation are in the DNA of each generation – he sets off to trade in rabbit, goat and mink, and lays the foundations for fur’s democratisation - a pioneer yet again.
As imaginative and competitive a businessman as ever, Boris Salomon enters into a partnership with a select group of manufacturers and launches the “Fun Furs” collection with extremely fashionable, geometrical, futuristic lines at reasonable prices. The large American stores open their doors provoking a seismic reaction.
Yves Salomon, third generation, takes up the baton. An adventurous nomad in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, having inherited an international vision of the industry, he reopens negotiations – the only Frenchman to do so – with the Chinese government.
The turning point. The 1980s see the arrival of Designers and their luxury designer ready-to-wear collections. The chief executive of the Galeries Lafayette asks Yves Salomon, now a fur trader, to launch the Thierry Mugler Fur collection, for which 100 m2 has been reserved. The intrepid trader sets up a specialised studio employing forty people and contracts for licensed products pour in from Jean-Louis Scherrer to Nina Ricci, from Azzedine Alaïa to Guy Paulin and Popy Moreni. Not to be left out, the Yves Salomon line is born and proudly displayed in large stores.
The first Gaultier Couture fashion show. Yves Salomon, who loves a challenge, is by his side. This is followed by the Jean-Paul Gaultier Fourrure licence and then a partnership with Sonia Rykiel. The other designers and brands fall in behind - Yves Salomon makes their dreams come true and new techniques and innovations flourish. A Research & Development studio is set up – stretch fur, knitted fur, obvious or intriguing combinations of materials…The lightness of the clothes and the affordable prices completely transform the landscape of the world of fur. Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Prada, and Vuitton all sign up in partnership. Yves Salomon’s aura and his trademark of excellence, inventiveness and creativity are firmly established. The House now works with a hundred different types of fur, from badger to muskrat, marmot, mink, lynx, fox, sable, chinchilla and so on.
The House of Yves Salomon, fashion house with a unique knowledge of fur and how to transform it, lists six varied lines: Yves Salomon (The historic heart), Meteo (A young, insolent, accessible profile), Army Fur (Wittily subversive military clothes), Yves Salomon Accessoires, Yves Salomon Homme, 245 Saint Honoré (Top-of-the-range, ultra-creative line).
Thomas Salomon, 29, fourth generation and the heir to a culture of dreams, emotions and unique know-how, continues the adventure by his father’s side. With his creative outlook for the House fully focused on the 21st century, Thomas Salomon is responsible for internal and external communication and strives to establish, with the greatest respect for the tradition of the trade, the dynamic and inventive image of a House still constantly and exuberantly seeking new challenges.