Our story

“This family certainly has a flair for handicraft.”

Robert Phelippeau

The Phelippeau saga

For six generations, couturiers have been picking up the thread of the Phelippeau lineage. A true family saga with know-how dating back to the Middle Ages.

Phelippeau -Tapissier was founded in 1953 by a 23-year-old apprentice with a simple Upholstery CAP [certificate d’aptitude professionnelle - French vocational qualification]. Above all, Maison Phelippeau’s journey has been one of passing on age-old techniques, knowledge and know-how from the Vendée countryside from mother to daughter and father to son since the end of the 19th century. The common thread? A meticulous exigency and a passion for fabrics and decor.

1855 – 1936

Yves Joint

A hand loom weaver, Yves, the first of the lineage, roamed the Vendée countryside at the end of the 19th century delivering 110 cm-wide thick linen canvas sheets which he assembled in two strips to make flour bags... or bed sheets. His wife, Victoire (1859-1926), prepared the loom and helped him complete this demanding job, for which he had to use both his hands and feet.

1884 – 1961

Eugénie Jarny

Particularly dexterous and very gifted in drawing, Eugénie was just 7 years old when she started her training as a tailor-quilter, a craft with origins dating back to the Middle Ages, first under her father and then a master. A travelling craftswoman, she plied her craft from farm to farm.

She produced both bedspreads and padded, quilted or hand-embroidered covers, which at times demanded over 100 hours of work. She also made feather quilts, pillows and bolsters, and double canopy beds, which are real masterpieces: so she was already working as an upholsterer.

1908 – 1965

Yvonne Jarny-Phelippeau

Initially taught by her mother, Eugénie, Yvonne was 12 when she became a tailor-quilter and then a costume designer for men and women in La Roche-sur-Yon. In 1937, at the age of 29, she decided to try her luck in Paris.

Her husband, Alfred Phelippeau was a stonemason and granite sculptor, which later led their son Roger to say: "Our family certainly has a flair for handicrafts.”

Born in 1930

Roger Phelippeau

Encouraged to sew by his grandmother Eugénie who raised him, and then trained by his mother Yvonne, Roger began working on small pieces at the age of 10, obtained his Upholstery CAP in 1949 and in 1953 founded the Maison Phelippeau Tapissier, which he was to manage until 1989.

In the ‘eighties, the Ministry of Labour asked Roger to organise the competition for the Best Upholsterers of France.

He continued to work with his son Jean-Paul and then his grandson Alexandre and is still today an honorary legal expert.

1957 – 2015

Jean-Paul Phelippeau

After gaining his Upholstery CAP at the École Boulle [college of fine arts and crafts and applied arts in Paris] in 1975, Jean-Paul joined the family business, which he ran from 1989 to 2015. Driven by a strong ambition to promote his profession, he expanded the business bringing in a wide variety of clients, international designers, manufacturers and distributors of design products and architects in France and around the world, and got the company to undertake some major projects. Since then Maison Phelippeau has been seeing very strong growth.

Giving his all to his profession, he was elected president of UNAMA, the professional organisation of upholsterers and manufacturers and distributors of design products, and president of the Commission de Labélisation EPV (Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant - Living Heritage Company, or EPV [mark of recognition of the French State, put in place to reward French firms for the excellence of their traditional and industrial skills]). He is also a national delegate to the Institut National des Métiers d'Art (INMA), the French state operator which promotes the growth of the crafts industry] and a judicial expert at the Paris Court of Appeal.

Born in 1981

Alexandre Phelippeau

A graduate of ESTP [École Spéciale des Travaux Publics, du bâtiment et de l'industrie, a Paris engineering and research graduate school] Alexandre Phelippeau began his career as an engineer in the Vinci construction group before embarking on the restoration of historical monuments, where he joined… his father Jean-Paul! So his path intersected with his family’s and he discovered – who could ever have imagined - a passion for upholstery. In 2011, he became an upholsterer and in 2012 joined the family business before taking over from his father in 2015.

Drawing both on the humility lying at the very heart of the outstanding craftsmanship and the pride taken in beautiful work, Alexandre Phelippeau adapted the technology of the 19th century to the most advanced possibilities of the 21st, combining the new materials with innovative technologies and thus enhancing still further Maison Phelippeau’s reputation.

Our know-how