French designer, liliCassis is the creator and designer behind LC Collection, a brand that specialises in men’s luxury cufflinks. Inspired by vintage watches and the passing of time, LC Collection has a distinctive style that strives on watch materials and precious metals. The cufflinks and most recently women’s bracelets, are miniature works of art with mechanical and timeless beauty.
liliCassis believes that: "Cufflinks are an essential clothing accessory for the modern man. This stylish accessory is the small, special thing that can complete a man’s outfit.” Intended for lovers of beautiful mechanical watches, LC Collection’s miniature works of art combine vintage elegance and French-style luxury.
How did your brand begin?
I couldn’t afford the watch that my husband admired. I was in a pivotal period in which I realized I was designing for others around concepts that didn't match my values. So I created accessories using inner parts of watches from prestigious brands - an alternative to the watches my husband loves.
When did you first fall in love with jewellery and knew you wanted to become a designer?
I had to move several times during my childhood. The only thing I could always carry with me was my creativity. So, as far as I can remember I have always known that I’d be designer. I love jewels - they’re little special things that spice up a style.
Is there anyone in particular who has heavily influenced/guided you as a designer?
My grandmother was a dressmaker and I had an elderly aunt who was a trainee seamstress for Coco Chanel. My father was a chemist and he encouraged me a lot to develop my creativity.
Where do you get inspiration for your designs?
I draw inspiration from everyday life. I'm curious about everything. I’m also inspired by the passing of time. I like vintage watches because they have a history, but also because of their aesthetic. I find it fascinating to “go back in time.”
How is your jewellery made?
Each piece is discovered from watchmakers before selected with care by myself. Then with a view for fine work, I dismantle, clean & assemble them with other pieces to make small works of art that will be appreciated for their great mechanical beauty.
How do you source your materials and gemstones?
I spend hours sourcing and hunting for vintage watches that inspire me and are discovered and collected by watchmakers and collectors from all over the world. Sometimes I’ll buy a watch and keep it for a long time before I know what I’ll do with it.
Are there any celebrities you would love to see wearing your designs?
I would love many celebrities as ambassadors: Simon Baker, Matt Bomer, Daniel Craig, Ryan Gosling and Laurent Lafitte. They represent the modern man, elegant and courteous, with a great sense of style.
Can you recall a particular moment with a client that will stay with you forever?
A Parisian ordered cufflinks for his brother. When he offered them to him he was surprise as the recipient was actually a very good friend of mine. The buyer didn’t know that we already knew each other. It’s a small world.
How do you want someone to feel when they wear your jewellery?
The success of a look is all in the jewels. They bring to the outfit a neat & timeless style. That's why I create - for those who wear them to gain confidence. I want people to feel unique through the exclusive character of each piece.
What has been the highest and lowest point of your career so far?
The highest was when I was laureate of a famous contest judged by Jean-Paul Gaultier and when LC COLLECTION was featured in GQ. Having to deal with my business, motherhood and in the end not having enough time for myself is a hard part of my career.
If you hadn't become a designer, what would you be doing?
I have always been told that I have missed my calling as a lawyer, because I’m a great speaker and injustice revolts me. But everyone who knows me knows I’m too sensitive for that job. I would have liked to be a writer; it isn’t a project that I’ve excluded.
Do you have any exciting future plans and where do you see your brand in 5 years?
I would like to expand the range of products and also develop the women's collection. My most exciting project would be to set out to look for inspiration all over the world. But it depends on my husband, who is a restaurant manager and my children.
What's the best piece of advice you've been given? (And have you actually used it?)
"Don’t hesitate to approach people, irrespective of who they are. You'll be surprised - people are kinder than you think.” I always follow it and now I teach it to my children.
What music do you play in the studio whilst you’re working?
La Vie en Rose – Grâce Jones, Into The Galaxy - Midnight Juggernauts, Fad Out Lines – The Avener & Phoebe Killdeer, Another Love – Tom Odell, Iron – Woodkid… Music takes me out of myself.
How do you ensure you’ve got a good work/life balance?
I don’t know if I have it yet but I try to manage my work time and create a schedule and stick to it. I try to switch off my mobile phone and don’t check my emails when I am with my family. I think that work and family are quite separate domains.
What's your favourite quote?
“Un mot amical ne coûte rien et pourtant c’est le plus beau des cadeaux” - Daphné du Maurier, British author (1907-1989)
Translated it means “A friendly word does not cost anything and yet it is the most beautiful gift.”
What meal is your signature dish?
My signature dish is homemade fish soup; my husband nicknamed it "the Divine".
Which 3 books would you love to have on a desert island?
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury, The World According to Gap - John Irving and The Man Who Wanted to Be Happy - Laurent Gounelle. They concern the importance of culture, the promise of joyfulness in a cruel world and the personal journey to achieve happiness.
Winding down after a day in the studio is sometimes difficult for a designer, what do you do to help this process?
It's not easy but sometimes when the work is completed and after the children are asleep, I give myself a reading break with a herbal tea. It's a truly relaxing session.