< In person >
CEO of de Grisogono, Fawaz Gruosi tells Mitrajit Bhattacharya at the opening of their boutique in the Emporio Mall in Delhi that he has taken the path less trodden and still succeeded
You are synonymous with black diamonds. What is the fascination?
I have always been wondering why most women wear black. Then I found out that black is romantic, sexy and mysterious. But most of all, black like white, can be mixed with any other colour. So I went out in the market looking for black diamonds. But it was almost impossible to find them because nobody was using them. When I finally got them and tried a couple of things with them, the result was amazing. So, I committed myself to doing a line with them.
When was that?
It was in ’95. It became a huge success after a couple of years. In the beginning, I had to suffer since people were not used to it. Then most of my competitors also started using black diamonds and the prices touched the sky. Since everybody knew I was the one who started it, the brand became well known. So did black diamonds make you famous or did you make them so?
Obviously both. But though I am associated with black diamonds, I work with any kind of stone.
Does personal experience shape up creativity? How do you express them through your creations?
Neither do my designs come while I am seated in the office, nor do they come when I decide on what to do next. It just comes randomly, like when I am talking to you. For example, this ashtray here can give an idea about form, while the flowers behind you can give an idea on how to mix colours. So there is no particular moment, no particular reason. It just clicks when I see something that attracts my attention.
You mean the personal background, like where you belong, the influences, have no role to play?
Subconsciously, may be yes. I was born in the Middle East. I have been in Florence in Italy, which was loaded with art. I have also lived in England, France and in the States. These multicultural influences can be seen in my creativity, I guess.
Your contribution in the area of serious watch making has been stupendous with the launch of Meccanico dG last year. Where do you see the brand go in the area of serious watch making?
We have already done a few serious ones. In the future, I think I will always push the accelerator on creativity in the technical way and keep a close eye on the design.
You are a jeweller first. Take us through some of your famous creations, which are close to your heart?
My creations are like my kids. They are all famous and important for me. Each single piece that has been created in the last 16 years has been made by me. Everything is dear to me because they all have come from my heart. In fact, what excites me the most are the ones I still have in my head and are not out yet.
Very few brands in the watch industry have made it so big in 15 years. What do you attribute the success of your brand to?
To two things – believing in myself and putting my heart in whatever I do. I have never calculated money. When I do something I take a lot of risk. The designs might look normal now, but when they were introduced they were unusual. I broke the rules. Like, I made gold look dark, almost brown, to the point that some people asked me why they have to pay so much when nobody sees the gold. But that is my attitude.
How do you characterise this attitude of yours? Can you call it revolutionary or maverick?
It is an attitude, wherein it is not necessary for people to accept you, but it’s more important for you to understand the value of it.
So, you have just gone by your instinct and it has worked for you…
Yes. Even going into watches, I have never been a watchmaker in my life. To be honest, for me, a watch was just an instrument to see the time. I never really paid any attention to the brand. It was for commercial reasons that I did watches. The few stores that I had at that time were not getting enough clientele since the selling point was quite high. It was quite depressing. I had to find a way. The most natural thing was to do watches.