A morning time with Maison Lesage

© Alice Herbaux
   Rendez-vous to the Villa Romaine ! I couldn’t wait more to attend the Maison Lesage atelier. Not only because this will be a way for me to explain the process better during my internship but also because I am simply crazy about all kind of savoir-faire. It always amazes me. Any type of handmade piece or craftsmanship. It is indeed part of the history of luxury entities in general. I would say it’s often key. It emphasizes the essence of it. Moreover it adds a little something to the story telling that will make the story even more beautiful.

François Lesage sponsored Christian Lacroix as you need a mentor in order to get the Couture label. Then Maison Lesage became one of the métier d’art from Paraffection owned by Chanel. They also work for other brands than Chanel such as Dior, Louis Vuitton, Balmain, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, Jean Paul Gaultier (a little anecdote : PETA – for animal protection reacted right after a runway show seeing a tigerskin-like  dress but it was actually entirely made of embroidery)… Today, the house works with new designers like Bouchra Jarrar, Mary Katrantzou or Jason Wu because it’s important to invest in future. With 7 draftswomen and 50 embroiderers, the house is in constant movement and some pieces can reach 700 hours of work ! At the same time, mussel shells can be embroidered as well as a skeleton effect to recreate the illusion – this, to underline the fact that everything is possible and it’s always a challenge but sharpens the embroiderers who can either use a needle or a Luneville hook – very old technique from the East of France, often used for small pearls and sequins because it goes faster and the specificity is that they embroider upside down.

The process
It first begins with themes or inspirations of a couturier, then they go back and forth to the designers until the final choice is made. Afterwards, they draw the exact pattern on tracing paper with real proportions then they make tiny wholes all the way of the drawing with a machine and apply the fabric under the tracing paper so once the pigment is put on it, they can reproduce the exact drawing to eventually end up with the embroidery.
Beside embroidery, they developed other activities : the creation and the samples of tweed, and the Lesage school which remains in the orignal premises in the 9th arrondissement in Paris. Since 1992, the school welcomes people from all over the world – 8 levels, for 6 hours as well as 150 hours, beginners or advanced, everyone can attend.

The place was very nice with a flowery garden outside. Yes I love flowers ! There was a circle of white flowers just in front of me, not pictured above, wonderful. There were a few samples in there, around the tables compared to 70 000 in their original atelier near Paris. Indeed, the samples highlight the future of the Maison and it is also a source of inspiration for the couture houses. Now let’s have a closer look to what I did… Needle, thread, scissors, pearls, rhinestones, game on ! The handling is quite simple and repetitive – you go up through the fabric, put a pearl and then go down to stick it. You can see at the end of the post, the final work ! It was absolutely amazing to do this session. Being in the heart of the creation is magic. It was as peaceful as relaxing. The satisfaction of the result. It may sound a bit odd for a 19 year-old girl but it means a lot to me. It remained me of my grand-mother when she taught me how to knit when I was younger. Memories… the preciousness of remembering.

© All Rights Reserved – Anna Tai



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