Embark on an immersive journey in the footsteps of Fred Samuel, the Founder of FRED
Jewellery has always had a constant connection to the past and that’s never been more apparent than at FRED, where the Maison is actively fostering conversations with their archives, history and legacies. Showcasing a unique collection, FRED recently opened its door to the “Fred, Jeweller Creator Since 1936” exhibition, a retrospective that explores the history of the Maison and its founder Fred Samuel.
The exhibition does a beautiful job of drawing out the variety of influences that were in the air at the time of some of Fred’s most iconic creations. Using visual tricks, glass displays and immersive experiences, the exhibition offers viewers a chance to appreciate art, culture and innovation.
Bazaar caught up with Charles Leung, the Chief Executive Officer of FRED to talk more about the Maison’s enduring appeal.
Here’s our conversation with Charles Leung:
Tell us a little bit about the “Fred, Jeweller Creator Since 1936” exhibition.
Across 9 thematic rooms, we’re highlighting more than 300 jewels and objects, and nearly 200 unseen archival documents and private loan pieces — showcasing unique retrospectives inspired by the life and personality of Fred Samuel, the founder of FRED. For Fred Samuel, happiness is the most important in life and jewellery should have this power to share joy. So, we hope the retrospective evokes a lasting impact and happiness for the viewers.
Can you tell us more about the rooms within the exhibition?
Each room has a story to tell and it’s not in chronological order, because we wanted it to feel like you’re rediscovering the hallmarks and modern signatures of the FRED brand and the founder. Showcasing a spectrum of colours, each room exhibits the Maison’s key inspirations and the excellence of FRED’s savoir-faire. You’ll see a lot of playful silhouettes, linear geometries and spirits of the French Riviera.
The rooms include, “The Soleil D’Or, An Encounter With Destiny”, “The World of Monsieur Fred”, “An Odyssey Into Fred’s Creative Audacity”, “The Informal Glamour Of A Jeweler With A Whimsical Wit”, “From Red Carpets to Royal Courts”, and “High Jewelry, Combining Art and Emotion”.
What are the star pieces for the exhibition that you could share and highlight?
First and foremost, it’d be the Soleil D’or, a yellow diamond, now weighing 101.57 carats that was founded by Henri Samuel, Monsieur Fred’s elder son.
Second, would be the bird brooch designed in 1991 by Henri Samuel — it’s made up of multi-coloured sapphires with a total weight of 56.70 carats.
The last one is the immersive virtual try-on projection at the end of the exhibition where you can visualise close-up details of the jewellery and stones on your wrist.
What do you hope people take away from this exhibition?
We created this exhibition as a code of dialogue, where people can learn more about the brand, artistry and craftsmanship and create conversations. We have a lot of iconic archival pieces that showcase a diversity of inspirations, thematics and visual presence, so the exhibit in a way is a spectacle that presents how we’ve reintegrated past and present influences and how we expressed them in our own language.
The exhibition is also a great opportunity to learn more about our founder’s history, values and vision. He was a courageous young man, who succeeded in proving that jewellery can bring happiness.
And, since Mr. Fred has always been known to inspire a lot of you people, we’d also hope that the exhibition would inspire new innovators to dream, think and create.
What’s on the horizon for FRED?
For the House to be alive, we must always have novelties, so we’re going to continue carrying on the legacy, inspiration and vision of Mr Fred. We’re also going to be exploring different themes, designs and stones while sticking to the DNA of the brand.
The “Fred, Jeweller Creator Since 1936” exhibition will run from 11 November to 25 December at ALT.1 Hyundai art gallery in Seoul, South Korea.