For over twenty-five years French lifestyle brand, family-run Caravane, has collaborated with artisans around the world to create its unique homewares, offering a curated edit of authentic, quality furniture and accessories including beds, sofas, curtains, homeware and lighting sourced. From raw French linen to Indian block printing, the edit reflects the travels of its owners, bridging cultures and decades to inspire timeless products and capsule collections that move with the seasons.
Co-owner of Caravane with her husband Jack-Eric, Véronique Piedeleu is a self-confessed treasure hunter. From Europe to Asia and beyond, as the creative force behind the understatedly chic French lifestyle brand, Caravane, hers is an eternal quest to find the most beautiful and innovative textiles and homewares from around the globe. She says:
Never-ending curiosity and a determined nature are a prerequisite of the job. It’s like being a detective; I love to discover hidden places, to find the most skilled artisans to collaborate with, and to understand their techniques. At Caravane our aim is to share these craftspeople’s knowledge and bring their stories to our customers, with poetry, fantasy and sometimes even a little bit of humour.
This ambition has seen her travel the world in a bid to connect with makers, and the company now sources silk Ikats (a dyeing technique famed for its vibrant colours and bold patterns) from Turkey, exquisite linens dyed in France, woven homewares from Vietnam and block-printed and embroidered fabrics from India, to name just a few.
An appreciation of process and how things are made is what gives Caravane’s unique pieces their undeniable charm. Nowadays, everyone wants things very quickly, and for them to be perfect so it’s rare that people work with their hands. Véronique feels that it’s so important to keep these arts alive in a mass-produced world, and to accept that maybe a small fault is beautiful. What is really wonderful about something that is handmade, is that you will never see two items exactly the same.
The granddaughter of an antique dealer, Véronique grew up surrounded by furniture and always had a fascination with textiles. Initially choosing to study business before working in marketing and product development, she then finally set up her own craft supply business with her husband, Jack-Eric. It wasn’t until 2011, having successfully run the company for ten years, that they decided to seek an alternative path, to develop her passion for textiles. Her love of interiors meant that I she knew Caravane, and I admired the soulful, laid-back vibe of its universe; the way it played with colour, the diversity of the textiles and its warm and informal approach to decoration.
Launched in 1995, Caravane was originally founded by French designer, Françoise Dorget. An extensive traveller, particularly throughout Morocco, she gathered inspiration from around the world before combining those found influences with more cosmopolitan ideas and art to create visibly relaxed designs that were a contrast to the formal pieces popular at the time.
“Back then there were only three Caravane stores in Paris and, although Françoise had been asked to sell many times before, the wanted to be sure she was leaving her creation in the right hands. There was a good feeling between the two women and Françoise had confidence in the couple’s commitment as well as their experience and understanding of the brand’s values.
The company now has many more stores and distributors across the globe. Jack-Eric takes care of the commercial side including global store development, while their daughter Capucine, who joined a few years ago, heads up the communication and digital departments.
The company’s creative network stretches far and wide. The craftspeople the company works with use the materials that nature provides, and many of them have worked with Caravane for more than 10 years so they’ve become part of the family.
The preservation and development of skills is also something Caravane feels very strongly about. Véronique explains:
In India, the knowhow and creative talent still exists but, even there, it’s disappearing,” she says. “Keeping families in rural areas together, generating work so that they don’t have to head to the big cities, and helping to support them gives us another purpose. It’s about connecting to their rhythm and sustaining a slower pace of life against the tyranny of machines.
Images courtesy of Caravane