03 November 2014


Tzuri Gueta for Yiqing Yin
Branches of coral in silicone-fed fabric and applied to silk tulle for a Chinese-inspired red wedding dress

Helene Farnault has opened the doors of the HAUTE COUTURE ATELIERS in her new book by the same name. It's more than a glimpse inside the Artists that make fashion's Haute Couture the unique world it has been for decades. With a foreword by Hebert de Givenchy, who after many years as a designer is still quite amazed at the level of the craft. The Haute Couture artists of Lemarie and Desrues are two he particularly favors.

Introductions to couturiers like OSCAR CARVELLO open Farnault's book and indeed his work is quite extraordinary. True, much of haute couture is-with designers taking their work to high art on Paris runways. Carvello seems to go a step further though, lavishing each of his works with details from many of the ateliers, yet his creations show great restraint simultaneously-a wonder with the entirety of choices available to him. His high art evokes the old world Erte drawings, and designs of Paul Poiret.

A Carvello gold brocade dress, with fur epaulettes and bead embroidery

Each of the Ateliers, artificial flowermakers, featherworkers, pleaters, embroiderers, passementerie makers, leather workers, & costume jewelers are delved into by chapter. This is where the photography by  Alexis Lecomte captures the workers at their craft, photographing their premises and their hands at work.

Black organza embroidered with matt silver and gunmetal cup sequins. Relief applique embroidered petals.

Design notebook containing lists of materials, colours and dye references, as well as feather samples


a confection of fur and embroidery by Yiqing Yin Haute Couture

PRELLE Weavers
Colour Sample Books with skeins of silk yarn used from 1898 to 1900

Raf Simons of DIOR seems to capture a modernity, and unite the fine embroideries of haute couture as current director of Dior. His Spring-Summer 2012 Haute Couture Collection, (above & below) show just that. Fabric flowers with bead centres on tulle with black chainstitch stem.

 photograph from Style. com

"Like planets in motion around the sun, fashion designers, especially those in the field of haute couture, carry thousands of workers in their wake. All the crafts in the fashion industry are satellites within this solar system." - Helene Farnault 

Easily getting lost in space, HAUTE COUTURE ATELIERS will take you amongst embroidered stars, beaded planets, and gently drop you back to earth. You'll only wish to return in haste to any of its pages for a few moments of cosmic bliss.

principal photography by  Alexis Lecomte
available from Vendome Press

one of the many books I selected from the offerings from Vendome


  1. I love all these different textures; just another way to contribute to the transporting of a message - along with color, style, etc. Great post!
    Plaid Is My Favourite Colour

  2. It is astonishing that in our world there is a market for this beautiful; incredibly exacting work of such gifted artisans. I don't care where the people come from who buy them. I am grateful for their existence.....they keep these amazing artists alive!
    Can you imagine the time and artistry it took to create that dress by Chanel?

    I am delighted beyond that there were orders!

    Those lovely people keep their jobs.....doing things no one else is doing.....(pretty much anywhere in the world???)


  3. Gaye, I return to this book often in complete amazement at the artistry contained within.
    Helene Farnault captured each of the specialty artisan's creations in the Haute Couture of the fashion industry. beautifully.

    The Arts by Karena

  4. This book is going on my Christmas wish list.

  5. They make magic, and I love all those adroit fingers! Thanks Gaye for highlighting them!

  6. The talent in the fabric flowers!
    The fabric coral is just amazing, so life-like!
    Love the picture of the old silk yarn.



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