Savoir Faire Visit - Maison Lesage

Essec Luxury Brand Management
( Savoir Faire Visit-3)

Designed to bring together under one roof 11 craft houses, the Maison ERES and the Galerie du 19M, we visited the 19M building on Friday. Unveiled by Chanel two years ago, this multidisciplinary venue was designed to bring together the craft houses of Paraffection Chanel in a single location, bringing together a veritable constellation of French savoirfaire.

M19 with “M” standing for Métiers d’art (arts profession), for Mode (fashion), for Main (hand), for Maison (house) and for Manufacture (factory), to show their absolute attachment to these craftsmen, and the number 19 because of the location and Gabrielle Chanel's birthday. 10 of the craft houses belonging to the Paraffection Chanel, which means for the love of, are housed and fostered in this building, a special project created by architect Rudy Ricotta who feels honoured to have been appointed with this project that meant “contributing to safeguarding these wonderful trades”, artisanal labour that is “(…) extremely vulnerable, as it is complicated to pass on all this know-how and all these skills to the new generation.” 

Among these houses: the Lesage embroidery house, the Lesage Embroidery School, Lesage 

Interiors, l’atelier Montex and Studio MTX, the decoration department, Massaro, the bootmaker, Lemarié, the feather and flower expert, Maison Michel, the milliner, Lognon, the pleating expert, the Paloma couture (non- tailored) workshops and Goossens, the goldsmiths, Eres, the specialist in creative lingerie and swimwear, we had the pleasure to visit Maison Lesage. 

Since its creation in 1924, Maison Lesage has been producing splendid hand-embroidery for Haute Couture, Ready-to-Wear and accessories, affiliated with the biggest houses of fashion such as Chanel, Schiaparelli, Valentino and Dior. 

We spent an interesting morning learning about fashion history and the metier d’art intertwined  in it. And as we discovered the awe-inspiring archives of Maison Lesage we could see their witness of the times. It was an absolute privilege to discover their archives, with its most ancient sample dating back to 1858, and therefore walking us through fashion history, with each epoch representing a specific style. 

Another privilege we had was to visit the embroidery and tweed workshops, allowing us to see the 70 employees in action. To witness this meticulous work live was for us the opportunity to experience the designer's dream come true, 55 of the 77 employees are creatives by nature. They represent the nicknamed “hands and eyes”, because they bring the designer's vision to life.

After visiting the workshops, we passed the afternoon hands on ourselves. Precise, patient work was required to try ourselves out on the craft. With lots of passion we embroidered a luxurious design on tulle, demanding our focus to an extent that it almost had a meditative effect. Taking lessons from the masters themselves, we had the pleasure to walk out with our own embroidery sample at the end of this enriching day.
We had the most memorable experience, enjoying the privilege to deep dive into the art of hand-embroidery. After having experiences hands-on what it means to bring the opulence of hand-embroidery onto fabric, we sure see the work that is shown on in fashion week and glossy magazines from another point of view, truly feeling the passion and savoir-faire that goes in such a piece of art.

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