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Posts Tagged ‘Meilleur Ouvrier De France’

Intaglio: Artisan Printer Adds Twist to Tradition

Intaglio-Red-Card

Photos by Fabrice Fortin for Paris By Appointment Only™

You’d think that gorgeous paper goods would be extinct by now. But one of the amazing side effects of our plugged-in lifestyle is a renewed craving for objects that are pleasantly tactile and reassuringly permanent.

No better sign o’ the times is the rising success of Intaglio, an independent printing press based in Paris.

Printing-press-Paris

A couture paper company with the friendly appeal of a neighborhood candy store, Intaglio (which means ‘engraving’ in Italian) is owned by Stephan Le Sauter and his wife, Anne. Together the affable duo has turned the rare art of foil stamping (an inkless printing process that permanently presses pigment into paper using weight and heat) into stationery so sophisticated and stylish you wonder how you’ve ever lived without it!

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Catherine Hervé Lifts the Veil on Handmade Lace

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Appointment with: Catherine Hervé, Meilleur Ouvrier de France in duchess lace
When: 2pm, February 17th, 2009
Where: Her weekly lacemaking class at a community center in Paris’ 15th arrondissement.
On the Agenda: Learn the secrets to handmade lace from France’s preeminent expert.
Glossary: Métier (cushion), gatlap (cloth with cut-out center), fuseaux (bobbins), fil (thread), grillé (grill-like pattern), toilé (cross-cross pattern)

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This might come as a shock, but before I discovered the haute handiwork of lace designer Catherine Hervé at a fair devoted to French artisans, the subject of handmade lace had never once flittered through my mind. (Crazy, I know!) Was it like crocheting? Did it require looms? Were there patterns? Easels? For the life of my, I just couldn’t picture how it was done, who was doing it, where they did it and why.

There was only one person I knew could solve this puzzle: the Queen of Lace herself.

In 2004, Hervé became the third person since 1924 to win the Meuilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Craftsman of France) title for duchess lace, giving her instant street cred as France’s leading practitioner of this painstaking craft.

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After winning the MOF, Hervé traded in her job as a legal assistant to devote herself full-time to lace. By blending traditional techniques with non-conventional materials (colored threads, rayon, leather, wool, silk) she hopes to give the endangered medium a fresh, modern patina. In addition to creating her own original designs (which include three-dimensional lace sculptures, lace jewels, lace canvases, and lace appliqués for apparel) Hervé teaches the art of this mysterious medium each week to a growing number of devotees. From fashion designers and chatty grannies to summer tourists and this guy from Chartes who likes frog motifs, lace holds a seductive spell over a rather eclectic cast—one that I plan to temporarily join to witness the virtuoso at work.

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Louise Feuillère: Empress of the Undergarment

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A 21st century super hero of sartorial sensuality, artisan lingerie designer Louise Feuillère empowers women by building their bras, not burning them. Since she opened her adorable atelier-boutique on the aptly named “rue des Dames” in 2004, 35-yr-old Feuillère has been perking up the private lives of her privileged patrons with her couture and made-to-measure lingerie.

From superfine cotton panties with delicate lace trimming to sexy waist cinchers with velvet-covered ribbing, Feuillère’s confections are masterpieces of sensuality, technique, comfort and form.

“Lingerie sets the mood for the day,” says Feuillère, a sprightly, petite brunette with a mischievous smile and large coy eyes. “It’s the first decision you make when it comes to dressing. When you think of its impact on our daily disposition it takes on a dimension of well-being.” (Hear that ladies? Forget meditation, buy made-to-measure!!)

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