Bertrand Mak has come a long way since his days designing behind the scenes for the renowned shoemaker Rupert Sanderson, where Mak introduced the gold leaf motif. In 2012 Mak embarked on an independent journey to establish his own luxury brand, Sauvereign, in Hong Kong, in 2020.
Sauvereign recently debuted a collaboration with Studio Putman, which has previously worked with Louis Vuitton, Nina Ricci, Lalique, and Christofle, on a collection featuring wearable accessories and decorative mirrors.
According to Olivia Putman, Studio Putman’s head of design and Mak’s primary collaborator for the collection, Sauvereign’s signature techniques have been incorporated into the design, while Studio Putman’s aesthetic influences are recognisable.
“This is why we thought of the name Dualités – there are opposing but complementary forces at play,” Putman says. “Sauvereign’s modularity and transformability fascinated me. How amazing is it to be able to clip a gem onto your shoe, blouse or bag according to your mood or the time of day? Our approach to working with artisans and ateliers is the same: quality and craftsmanship are paramount and should not be compromised.”
Retail in Asia spoke with Sauvereign founder Bertrand Mak on his journey as a designer and insights on collaboration and bespoke services.
RiA: Sauvereign was established in 2020. What inspires your work, and how do you define your aesthetic?
Mak: I launched Sauvereign shortly after the global pandemic outbreak; I suppose the line between lunacy and audacity is a fine one. My creative process is inextricably tied to my mission to find identity, purpose, intimacy, and meaning. I often draw inspiration from memories and past experiences, connecting them with the present. My parents sacrificed so much to give me a decent education with diverse exposure which has put me on good stead. Fascinated by the preciousness and immortality of gold, I am constantly applying our proprietary gold leafing know-how in my practice while exploring new materials and applications to challenge the status quo. Creating is a matter of the heart, and I hope what comes from the heart reaches the heart.
RiA: What is your vision for Sauvereign?
Mak: Breaking the glass ceiling and taking Sauvereign to the international markets as the first Hong Kong-born art and luxury house, joining forces with iconic masters in varied disciplines to ignite an unprecedented movement never-before-seen in any one category or realm.
RiA: Sauvereign also features a personalisation service – what made you want to introduce this?
Mak: We have gone above and beyond a bog-standard personalisation service so ubiquitous today to empower our collectors. One of our unique selling propositions is transformability and modularity, where my creations are customisable by their keepers. Our sculptural “Gem” ornaments can be transformed from a pendant to a brooch or belt buckle or as the lock for our bags, down to the shoes. This concept is exquisitely demonstrated by Lady Amelia and Eliza Spencer wearing the Sauvereign x Studio Putman Limited Edition Gem as pendants and on Olivia Putman as the lock of her bag. Sauvereign gems are bejewelled objects of art that can be passed on from generation to generation. My creations are about permanence and discovery.
RiA: You have collaborated with craftsmen in the past and now with Olivia Putman. How do you choose who to work with?
Mak: Collaboration is central to my vision for Sauvereign, where we multiply our efforts with the world’s greatest masters of diverse disciplines to perpetuate our shared ideals. I have been collaborating with Zohiko, a Kyoto lacquering house with over 360 years of history, Wing Shya, legendary Hong Kong-based photographer, and Christopher Makos, American photographer and long-time collaborator of Andy Warhol. Essential to any beautiful relationship is the sharing of values and common goals whilst being able to inspire one another and, most importantly, having fun together.
RiA: What else can we expect from Sauvereign in 2023?
Mak: Having survived three years of an immensely challenging environment, we are now resuming expansion beyond Hong Kong and introducing new categories, materials and new collaborations.