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- 11 Feb 2011
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Q&A: Jean-Christophe Chopin, CEO of


Jean-Christophe Chopin brings design, luxury, lifestyle, action sports and charity together for Born Designer in Courchevel

Born Designers is just one of Jean-Christophe Chopin’s many projects. The founder of and co-founder of master watch brand, Hautlence, developed the event to celebrate the Active LifeStyle concept and unite a bevy of creative and diverse luxury industry insiders.

The first event took place in January 2011, bringing together brands and designers of the luxury and sport industries, such as Les Ateliers Ruby’s Jerôme Coste, Ora Ito and contemporary artist Xavier Veilhan, to present their latest innovations and projects. Courchevel was selected as the venue as the perfect fusion destination of luxury and sport, after the success of the 2011 event, there are already plans for a larger scale affair in 2012.


Jean-Christophe Chopin, Pictured with Donrad Duncan courtesy of Say Who is a celebration of luxury and lifestyle, seeking to investigate the relationship between the two. How would you describe this inherent relationship?

I think the easiest way to describe lifestyle is using the French “art de vivre". Art is a luxury of taste, expression and imagination, it is a way we seek to re-imagine our life, express our curiosity and attract ourselves to new landscapes. Today, it is a true luxury to satisfy all our expectations, simply being inspired may also represent a kind of luxury as well!

At, we have decided to build on this definition and combine it with action! Modern life is intense and full of opportunities. Over luxury and style, young generations seem more and more sensitive to health and well-being, they are looking after luxury products that correspond to their lives as well as their style. seeks to offer a selection of high-quality, diverse and innovative products, and give users the ability to share experiences before or after having purchased these products, this is the raison d’être of Born.

A vision that you have translated into festival format, through Born Designers?

Digital life offers amazing and unlimited experiences, drastically reducing the time and effort required in finding the things we need in everyday life. However, real life meetings, spontaneous exchanges and human relationships can’t be replaced by a website: experiences using all our senses also mean more “fun”.

Born Designers answers this need. It has been created to enable real-life interactions between designers, brands and champions, to celebrate existing achievements and hopefully foster new ones. Meeting in a classic exhibition or a professional fair in a big city does not provide the same outcome, it is necessary to utilise different spaces and unexpected venues to develop other kinds of relationships. We needed a place which would perfectly illustrate this difference, and showcase our ambitions: Courchevel definitely belongs to this category. It is of course a must-go for winter sports, but it also perfectly embodies our spirit: lifestyle mixed with action.

What have been the highlights during Born Designers?

There has been so much happening, I am still amazed by the debriefing

The Vuarnet Infinity Ski contest has attracted numerous attendees, enjoying the fight with French olympic champion Jean-Pierre Vidal. How many of us have never dreamed of such an opportunity? What about testing “Zai” swiss-made skis? Or having then a sunny lunch with some former international soccer stars?

There was a last minute Jean Charles de Castelbajac fashion show, organised in the pure spirit of active lifestyle on the snowfront, which will probably be remembered by most of us, and hopefully inspire others! Last but not least, the Charity dinner that has generated over €120,000 donation for the “Smiling Children” Foundation, which also demonstrates that lifestyle and generosity are not incompatible.


Jean Charles de Castelbajac, Ora Ito & Patrice Meignan

So can we look forward to another festival in 2012?

We are in the process of finalising the dates, and some major stakeholders have already expressed their ambitions: they want us to make this second opus bigger and greater, by showcasing their own designers. We will have a great Jury, with 7 categories, to reward innovation and other various criteria. Sports activity will be even more present and brands will get benefit from their ability to customise their own presence and find the right dimension to expose their creations and universes. We hope they will invite their partners, clients, media, friend and the event will grow authentically and organically.

I am really looking forward to this moment, and am definitely convinced it will represent a one-off opportunity for luxury brands for their lifestyle products.

You can view photos of all the events held on 13th – 15th January 2011 on the Born Designers Gallery

more is an e-commerce platform, online magazine and community, designed as a space for luxury enthusiasts to share their extreme lifestyles.