JACQUES VON POLIER
City / Country: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Online presence (Facebook, Instagram, Weibo, etc.):
Profession / Occupation: Creative Director of the "Raketa" Watch Factory
Jacques von Polier is a French designer based in Russia. He moved to Moscow at the end of the 1990s. After starting out in the banking world, he became creative director for the famous Raketa watch factory, to restructure the company and work on the image of the historic brand. Jacques von Polier is also the co-author of "Davaï! sur les chemins de l'Eurasie" published in 2002.
In 2011, Polier was named as the most influential person in fashion in Saint Petersburg which then led to his lead role in a Ukrainian TV series, Princes Undercover, on the Ukrainian channel 1+1.
Why did you decide to live in this country and what aspect of your new dual culture do you find most enriching?
I have Russian ancestry as my great grandmother was born in the Crimea, but I also love this country; its freedom of enterprise and thought, its ultra dynamism, its polar bear character and its extraordinarily rich culture from Tolstoy to Rachmaninov. The Russian soul is my oxygen and can't be explained.
What French touch do you pass on there in your daily life and/or in your profession?
The French believe that they know the best when it comes to how to live your life, which is both good and bad. Russians, on the other hand, doubt and always question themselves.
My French touch is not to doubt Russians and Russia. The hundred or so artisans who work in our factory also have this French ethos of not doubting themselves.
Which experience epitomising French Art de Vivre in your country and/or city would you recommend?
Most Russians have a sense of French Art de Vivre through France’s literature, its classic cinema and its beautiful advertisements for major luxury brands. But, unfortunately, all too often this sweet France falls down like a house of cards during your first trip to Paris. It's not the elegant Chanel and Louis Vuitton advertisements which await Russian travellers at Charles de Gaulle, but rather sour Parisians, pretentious brasserie waiters and unsmiling pedestrians annoyed to be asked a question in English. France no longer has the Art de Vivre of Dumas's musketeers.