This Is What It Takes to Be an Embroiderer for Chanel

Part of what makes haute couture clothing so intriguing and special is the mystery that surrounds it. How is it made, for whom, and how much does it cost are just a few of the initial questions that come to mind. But in a video that recently got our attention, although was initially published by Business of Fashion last year, a little more of the façade begins to break down as it introduces us to some of the makers behind couture’s most intricate, ornate, and dazzling embroidered pieces.

Lesage, as the video shows us, is the company responsible for the embroidery for fashion houses including Chanel, Dior, and others much smaller and lesser-known, as the managing director, Caroline Leborgne, explains.

The video gives us an inside peek at the workplace where the magic happens—tiny beads are strung together to create gorgeous motifs, and archives of work are sifted through. Seventy thousand samples, to be exact, as Leborgne points out (although technically that number could be higher today). And what’s perhaps most interesting is the intense dedication that these masters have to their craft. Leborgne points out that there must always be a balance of age in the workplace between young and old, as these embroiderers endure at least five to 10 years of training in order to fully take on this job.

Watch on for the full video of the fashion masters and genius craftsmen behind the most gorgeous—sometimes most mysterious—dresses in the world.

What other questions do you have about how couture is made? Let us know in the comments, and in the meantime, shop more jaw-dropping gowns.

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