Friday, January 15, 2010
The House of Lesage
In the heart of Paris, 50 seamstresses are hunched over wooden frames feverishly stitching hundreds of tiny cut glass beads, sequins and rhinestones onto gossamer cloth for “The House of Lesage”. This is why I came to Paris. I studied Professional Haute Couture Embroidery with the workers at Lesage. Owned by Chanel, The House of Lesage is one of Europe's most well known Beadwork and Embroidery houses. Although Lesage is owned by Chanel, they are currently responsible for 85% of all beading and embroidery that grace the world’s famous couture collections including, Chanel, Christian Dior, and Lanvin.
For my course, I had to work 150 hours in Lesage, and another 150 on my own. I learned all kinds of stitches and beadwork. First, I had to learn all the stitches on a sample piece of gossamer fabric such as this sample made from sequins beads, and ribbon.
Once I had accomplished this, I was able to start my main project. It ended up taking me about 400 hours to complete it using hundreds of beads, sequins and threads. Below are some pictures of my work at Lesage.
The embroidery technique for beads and sequins hand sewn on the reverse of the fabric used by Lesage is called Luneville (named after the town in France that started it in the early 19th century). On average, Lesage hand sews 100 million sequins and 150lbs of beads a year.
François Lesage, is the 80-year-old master and last remaining heir of the 150-year-old establishment. I got to meet François twice while I was there. He would come and stand over me watching as I embroidered. Talk about intimidating!
Now that I am trained in Haute Couture Embroidery, I am hoping to find a job to use my newly acquired skills. Until then, I am beading and embroidering pieces for my Pairs collection, soon to be available at www.glimpsebeads.com