Bridging Arts

Sunday, 3 January 2010

France and Madras - the embroidery connection

A blog reader spots an article in Le Figaro about Jean-Francois Lesage, a scion of the famous French haute couture embroiderer Lesage, who has an atelier producing embroidered home furnishing fabrics in Madras, India.

Lesage, with its illustrious 150 years plus of history, has been frequently mentioned during the Stitch project. We have no equivalent to Lesage in the UK now. An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal in October 2009 shows that even the great French couture industry is feeling the pinch....Lesage was one of several companies recently bought up by Chanel.

Without ateliers like Lesage, Chanel couldn't make its most elaborate clothes. "This is not an act of charity," Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion at Chanel told the Wall Street Journal.

The companies Chanel bought are allowed to do business with other high-end fashion brands, even though Chanel requires that its own products are all sourced in France.

Francois Lesage, creative director of Lesage, says that while all his designs are created in Paris, he has been outsourcing about 15% of the ready-to-wear orders the company gets to Madras, India, since the late 1990s. "Does the master chef peel the vegetables?" asks the 80-year-old Mr. Lesage.

Wall Street Journal