Nothing makes an outfit more feminine than adding a beautiful delicate feather. Since the 18th century, feathers in French society have represented both fantasy and high society. Founded in 1880 in Paris, Maison Lemarié originally worked with feathers mostly for wholesalers and large department stores as a “studio of plumes-for-garments.” André Lemarié joined the family business in 1946 and soon began working with some of the most prestigious names in Haute Couture such as Givenchy, Christian Dior and Chanel.
In 1900, there were more than 300 feather workers flourishing in Paris. Today, Lemarié is practically the only atelier still remaining and supplying the couture industry. To help Lemarié survive, in 2002, Chanel bought the atelier along with six other struggling, highly specialized ateliers as part of PARAFFECTION in a bid to preserve the unique skills of these ateliers, thereby ensuring a future for Haute Couture.
Highly skilled craftspeople working for Lemarié spend hours in the painstaking task of selecting and individually attaching feathers to dresses, handbags and hats. They dye, thin, curl and even pound feathers to create wonderful pieces that are used in the couture process. In another part of the atelier, workers create Chanel’s famous camellias using special metal instruments that form material into delicate layers of petals. The camellias were first introduced in the early sixties by Coco Chanel and have since become a trademark of the Chanel brand. The camellias have reinvented themselves since the sixties in such fabrics as tweed, fur, satin, plastic and even cardboard.
Maison Lemarié not only specializes in feathers and camellias, they are also the “go to” atelier for smocking, inserts and ruffles as needed by the couture designers. Their atelier and the skilled men and woman that work for the company have the unique “know how” in the industry to create beautiful works of art for the couture industry. It is easy to see that each artisan working for Lemarié has great pride in each piece they create. The hundreds of hours spent sometimes on one garment shows incredible patience and skill.
Please visit Lemarié website for information on the this amazing atelier.