Overlapping three centuries, five generation of hat makers have knitted this saga to success. Dandurand has won its spurs throughout the eras.
A Familial Saga
1ST GENERATION : END OF IXX CENTURY, REINVENTION OF THE HAT
RAOUL DANDURAND, passionate craftsman, felt the end of the Melon Hat as well as the Top Hat. Through him, the cap makes its way to the ready to wear market. In 1887, he produces, with the help of two female workers, the first models, in the family’s retail store’s backyard, Rue de la République in Fontenay-le-Comte, created in 1834 by his father. As the years go by, sales grew in the whole Vendee department.
2ND GENERATION : BEGINNING OF XX CENTURY
GASTON DANDURAND, son of Raoul, perpetuates the family workshop and settles in 1909 Rue Kléber in the 1st workshop where some twenty female mechanics helped out. The whole production being done by hand with scissors for cutting, and pedal sewing machines for stitching. The setting out of a network of agents allows the proper distribution of the products throughout the whole France. In 1928, the workshop moves Rue de la Grue, thus allowing 80 odd workers required for the innovative creations.
3RD GENERATION : MID XX CENTURY, TORPEDO EN PROU
GASTON DANDURAND son, visionary and creator, trend pioneer, brings the Dandurand caps towards the high end. 1952 is the year where the famous brand Torpedo comes to its bosom. Henceforth, enthroned in the heart of the capital city, the manufacture has all the leisure to expose its know-how to the high end market. The demonstration is positive, the entire Europe rushes up, followed by Japan, the States, Australia, Canada… Torpedo becomes the number one cap exporter in France.
The workshop needs to increase: a factory is built in 1965 Route de Niort, where 150 workers keep this particular know-how alive and the precept of the ‘love of a job well done’ still guides our creations nowadays.
Father of a large family, his 8 kids have all shared a place in this saga. But it is mostly due to his eldest son, Jean Francois, jack of all trades in the factory, that the commercial and creations bloom to answer to the international request.
4TH GENERATION : END OF XX CENTURY: WITHIN THE HIGHEST COUTURIERS
MARTINE GUILMENT-DANDURAND, Gastons’ third daughter, takes over the society in 1984 and aims for the luxury market following the textile crisis. The reduced new team is positively anchored in the ‘love of a job well done’, thriving creativity and demand, specializes in very high standing. She becomes the accredited subcontractor for some prestigious national brands and allows our know-how to settle down its spurs.
5TH GENERATION : BEGINNING XXI CENTURY : THE FUTURE
WILFRIED GUILMENT-DANDURAND, Martines son, takes over the torch in 2006. At 34 years old, looking forward to the future, Wilfried analyses his era, modernizes the production tool and sets up a strategy, keeping a legacy of values transmitted for four generations. Helped by his sister AGATHE, they have their heart in perpetuate this creative and visionary mind that makes the Dandurand House the number one address in the small world of Haute Couture.
Today, the Chapellerie Dandurand & Sons has a wide pair of shoulders. Shoulders on which they have based its braid of being French Ambassador throughout the world.