Merging Fashion and Craftsmanship

Merging Fashion and Craftsmanship

BY: Sandra Ong

Laure du Pavillon

One of the events that happened during the AAU Fashion week is the presentation done by Laure du Pavillon last Thursday, May 5th. For 22 years, Laure du Pavillon was the PR Director for Christian Lacroix making her an expert on the more serious side of fashion. She started her presentation with the story behind the lace ornamentation in Kate Middleton’s wedding gown. She stated the House of Mc Queen had a French atelier do the lace for Kate Middleton’s dress. The interesting part of the story is when she said that the lace Ateliers from the north of France just found out that their lace had been used for Princess Kate’s wedding dress  on the day of the wedding itself.

She then followed her story with a thorough discussion of the history of Haute Couture. This included the great masters of Haute Couture and the Fashion trends and movements that evolved through the years. First she introduced Charles Frederick Worth the Father of Haute Couture and was the first person to present clothes with real models. She ended the first part of her presentation with the year 2000 which was the hype and globalization of the fashion industry. She also stated that advertising was a huge part of the fashion in the 2000s. An example that she mentioned was Tom Ford’s which evoked very provocative and eye catching advertisements.

The second part of her presentation was the different kinds of craftsmanship that French Ateliers do. These include, Costume Jewelers, Feather workers, art flower makers, milliners, boot makers, fabric pleaters, glove makers, and embroiderers.

these garments embodies French craftmanship, having Lesage for embroidery, Lemarie for feathers and camellias, Massaro for shoes, Goossens and Guillet for costume jewellery, and Michel for hats,

She started off by introducing Coco Chanel as the first designer to make costume jewelry a fine art. Nowadays, we can see different houses that also make costume jewelry as part of their merchandise. Feather workers and art flower makers were also mentioned in her presentation. Lemarie being the only atelier in France doing feathers for Haute Couture fashion. One of the houses that patronize Lemarie is Christian Dior.

The boot makers were also mentioned in the presentation. Massaro as the leading boot maker in France works for Chanel and was featured in the behind the scenes documentary of Chanel Haute Couture Show, “Signe Chanel”.

Finally, in the last part of her presentation, she talked about the art of embroidery and the legendary House of Lesage. Francois Lesage is the man who pioneered and expanded the name of the house of Lesage and was given the title “The Embroiderer”. The house of Lesage had worked with different Fashion Couture houses throughout the years including, YSL, Christian Lacroix, Balenciaga, Balmain and of course Chanel. It is not until 1983 when Karl Lagerfeld became the head designer for Chanel that Lesage had collaborated with the house of Lesage. Now, Chanel now owns the workshop of Lesage and different other ateliers including Lemarié (feathers), Guillet (flowers), Desrues (buttons), Goossens (costume jewelry), Massaro (shoes), and Michel (hats). The legacy of the House of Lesage does not stop there; now, they also have a school, Ecole Lesage that teaches aspiring embroiders the art of embroidery thus making the old craft of embroidery live on.

Francois Lesage


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