when the lesage family took over the
Michonet embroidery studio in 1924, the shop
was already working with the era’s greatest
names in couture—Madeleine Vionnet, Charles
Frederic Worth, Jeanne Paquin. But under
Albert and Marie-Louise Lesage, the maison
developed even more expertise in innovative,
demanding techniques, such as Lunéville—or
tambour—beading (shown at right).
Today, as part of Chanel’s Métiers d’Art,
Lesage craftsmen painstakingly work magic
with thread, and attach beads, ribbons, sequins
and feathers by hand to tissue paper–thin
patterns destined to adorn creations at houses
like Dior, Valentino and Saint Laurent.
Hundreds of hours of handwork go into each
piece, a rich store of efforts represented in
the maison’s archive (below), which preserves
75,000 embroidery samples. Lest the delicate
tradition disappear, Lesage offers lessons to
the next generation of artisans at its academy.
By Ellis Harman