While in Paris recently, my well-informed, sophisticated and elegant friend, Suzanne Santry, invited me to join her on an excursion to one of the many ateliers that still exist in the city. We were going to one she identified from an old issue of World of Interiors: Legeron, fleurs et plumes on Rue des Petits Champs. After venturing into the simple courtyard and up the stairs, we were met by Monsieur Legeron himself, clad in a work apron with pins stuck all over it. The specialty of the firm is the creation of flowers in silk, leather or feathers for bespoke couture designers such as Dior, Lacroix and Saint Laurent. This multi-generational family business has been in existence since the 1860s when it was in the heart of the budding haute couture industry–a time when trimmings were an essential part of dressmaking. Today only a few flower and feather businesses exist, down from dozens.
Monsieur Legeron graciously invited us to open the countless drawers and boxes filled with fanciful blooms. The studio is literally piled with his creations and we were like children wrapping feather boas, donning flowers and playing dress-up. What I have not said is that each bloom is a miniature masterpiece requiring meticulous cutting, dying, painting and shading of petals and leaves. The composition or assembly of the multi-part petals, using glue and tweezers to crimp the edges, takes place and then dries on a stick in a ball of modeling clay for days. It takes nearly five hours of a patient, skilled artisan to compose one flower. Highly decorative and very beautiful, the Legeron flowers turn an ordinary black dress into a stunning work of art. What an inspiration.
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