Thursday, May 9, 2013

Houte Couture Monday in Paris

We had an inspiring couture day on Monday, starting with a private visit to the Yves St. Laurent Studio shown in the photo below, where we were shown sketches, finished garments and 'toiles'...muslin mock-ups of garments sewn to test the design which would be disassembled, used for a pattern and then re-sewn to keep for the archives.

The Yves St. Laurent Van Gogh Iris sequined jacket.
Entirely hand embellished with sequins & beads on silk organza (to keep it light) by the house of Lesage.  Breathtaking to see this in person.  
I recommend the movie Sequins, a charming French film that shows the techniques used to embroider beads and sequins on fabric.
This jacket sold for $100,000.
We saw another version later in the day at the Haute Couture Paris exhibition.

Next we visited Legeron, in existence since 1740, a house that makes silk flowers and other embellishments for the couture houses and private customers.  
In one workroom, they were applying black ostrich feathers to jackets for Yves St. Laurent.
There was a very happy atmosphere in the room.

Feathers are hand stripped to the right size and meticulously glued in place one at a time with white glue which has been dyed black with india ink.  
The feathers all finished.  The jackets are partially assembled with white stitching indicating edges and hems, and will now be returned to the YSL workrooms to be finished.  59 jackets in the order.
For a final treat at the end of the day, we went to this exposition, held in a grand hall at the Hotel de Ville....the City Hall of Paris.  
If you are in Paris between now and July 6, this is an exhibition NOT to be missed!

100 garments spanning 100 years.
The display allows you to walk around the pieces to get a close look.
Seeing these garments in person evoked gasps from all in our group.

Azzedine Alaia's famous 'bandage' dress.

Now I understand how the feathers are applied

Photo of Chanel's hands.

Side by side Chanel suits.  On the left from the Coco Chanel era, on the right from Karl Lagerfeld.  Subtle yet obvious details reflect the time they were made. 

Far left, from the '20's hand embroidered silk chiffon, center is a wool felt from the '50's, far right is Vionnet, hand dyed silk chiffon overlapping panels dyed in pale shades and embroidered (this one made me gasp).

Magnificent gown by La Croix.
The top is beaded, and a tongue in chic play on the French mariner T-shirt. 

The Catalog for this show is excellent.  
Click on the image to order from Amazon.
(I did!)


  1. Beautiful enough to make a grown woman cry...

  2. Fabulous! Thanks so much for sharing the experience!

  3. Thank you for sharing. I don't mind living vicariously through you!!

  4. ay yi yi! had to order the catalog and wishing i could divert to orly on my upcoming trip...thank you for the beautiful pix and great commentary. only image missing was one of your group. i suspect that the drool marks might have made it a little, je ne sais quois...

  5. Thanks for the photos of Beth and Shelley in your newsletter-great to put faces to the names I've seen in quite a few helpful emails from the office.

  6. Thanks for the photos of Beth and Shelley in your newsletter-great to put faces to the names I've seen in quite a few helpful emails from the office.