yesterday, a legendary but little known name in the world of fashion passed away. his name was Francois Lesage - embroider extraordinaire for famed fashion houses such as Chanel, YSL and Jean Paul Gaultier.
he led his own embroidery atelier in Paris, ’Lesage’ for more than 50 years. France’s oldest embroiderer, Lesage also opened a school to keep this most delicate skill and hand-craft alive and growing. Lesage helped to keep couture “couture” by maintaining the tradition of making every stitch and attaching every bead by hand. his company is one of the last true embroidery artisan companies, leading Chanel to acquire it in 2002 to ensure the skill and art’s life.
couture dresses created by Lesage require hundreds, even thousands, of hours to complete. the price tag shows too, with prices of $100,000 or more.
his family’s own history was rich in embroidery. his parents bought the embroidery studio of Albert Michonet, embroiderer to Napoleon III as well as some of the oldest fashion houses including Worth, who is often seen as the founder of couture. after taking over the family business, Mr. Lesage introduced famed designers such as Balenciaga, Balmain and Dior to Lesage.
i was lucky enough last summer to get a tour thru the Lesage studio and archives. i saw Chanel pieces being hand-made right before my eyes. such an amazing experience. check out my blog post about it HERE.