A Conversation With Dorian Caffot de Fawes


Dorian Caffot de Fawes

Dorian Caffot de Fawes is a London-based French antiques dealer who focuses on the 20th Century, typically from 1920 to 1970. Dorian’s rigorously-selected stock includes lighting, furniture, exquisite objects and pictures for both private collectors and interior designers, making sure each item combines powerful decorative qualities, great craftsmanship and sensible price.

By mixing styles and periods, Dorian’s relaxed approach to 20th Century decorative Arts offers an interesting selection of elegant and unusual pieces to today’s collectors and interior designers, both in the UK and internationally.

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How did your journey into antiques and decorative arts begin? Was there a particular moment or experience that sparked your passion and drew you towards pursuing this as a profession?

I have always been attracted to interiors. I grew up in a sports-oriented family that didn’t pay much attention to visual arts. Yet, from an early age, I noticed how an environment could affect or improve one’s mood. Whilst most kids my age used their pocket money for typical teenage things, I bought objects to decorate my room! Later on, I read law in Bordeaux, France, and simultaneously studied history of art at the same university. My student flat was filled with cheap, but alluring treasures that I found in the local flea market. Before I moved to London, I organised a big party and auctioned it all away. My first job when I moved to London was in the furniture department at Sotheby’s, so it was meant to be! I subsequently worked for an antiques dealer in Chelsea for seven years, before opening my shop in Fulham where I stayed for six years. I’ve now been in my new gallery in Marylebone for over three years.

Can you provide some insight on your curation process and how you ensure each piece aligns with your vision and resonates with your clientele? What do you look for when selecting pieces for your galleries or clients?

I tend to focus on French creations from the first half of the 20th century, although I also source Italian, Swedish and Spanish pieces. This fifty-year period was incredibly rich and diverse, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Swedish Grace, the 1940s, 1950s, the start of Brutalism, Africanism, a lot went on! All of these styles are very different yet have a common visual language and can work well together when curated in the right way. I’m attracted to shapes and lines rather than a set period, it just so happens that the ones that appeal to me are from that era. There are much earlier pieces that I source too, which share similar qualities. For example, I’m equally in love with a pared-down Louis XVI bureau plat (1780s), a Biedermeier desk (1830s) or an Art Deco writing table (1930s). They all share similar lines and shapes and are incredibly elegant. I love cohesively mixing periods. With regards to the buying process, it’s very simple, it has to pass the ‘home test’. When I feel unsure about an object, I question whether I would want it in my own home, and then the answer is easy! I only buy things I love and could live with. Looks, quality and practicality, all boxes must be ticked!

You often exhibit collections at antiques and textile fairs. How does your presence at fairs impact your business, paired with your online catalogue and physical shopfronts in London and Mahon Menorca? Is one channel more successful than the other in attracting new clients and customers?

We’re a brand on many fronts! I enjoy having a shop in central London, which is open all year round and is a large and pleasant exhibiting space. My new space is much larger than my previous shops, which makes me especially proud. On top of that, I exhibit at the Decorative Fair in Battersea Park three times a year, which is great fun, and gives a certain rhythm to the year. It’s great to meet private collectors and interior designers from all over Europe and the US, as well as the UK. But it’s also a very creative process, as it takes us weeks and months of preparation to put together a cohesive collection. Stock travels to and from the shop, so it creates a dynamic between the two selling spaces, and this way the shop looks completely different after each fair, which I like. The website is also an important part of the business. We sell everywhere in the world, so it’s a useful virtual window for international buyers. The third space is the gallery in Mahón, the capital of Menorca, which is a beautiful little gem. It’s just as large as the London space and has opened doors to new customers and forms of creativity. I now get to buy things I have always loved but which didn’t quite work for the urban environments we tend to sell for in London. We cater for Balearic homes and regularly ship to mainland Spain, as well as many different places across the Mediterranean. All of this keeps us very busy, which I love.

Your online catalogue documents all your curated pieces for sale. How do you manage the selling process for clients when it is difficult for them to see the pieces in person before buying?

All of our inventory is professionally photographed in a studio in London. While there’s a lot of logistics and time involved, the quality of the photos makes a huge difference to our customers, who can now purchase remotely with confidence. We also assist with shipping, making it very easy for customers to purchase items, and we sell all over the world.

Looking forward, can you share a glimpse of any highly anticipated projects or ventures on the horizon, and how do you envision these endeavours shaping your journey within the world of interiors?

We had a very successful fair in May, and I’m already preparing for the forthcoming one in October. I also have a buying trip planned at least once a month over the next four months in France, Spain and Italy. Between this, I will be travelling back and forth between London and Menorca, running both businesses, with the help of my great team in both locations. My Menorca home will be published in a magazine in the UK later in the year, which is exciting! I never know what I will find when I travel, and that’s what shapes the looks of both shops and the fair, so I can’t wait to continue to hunt for special things to keep my customers interested.

Our Awards & Affiliation

  • Eu property awards 2021 winner
  • EU Property Awards 2020 winner
  • BHA finalist 2020
  • United Kingdom Property Awards SALIC Winner 2018-2019

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