Mademoiselle Chanel originally sourced her tweed from a Scottish textile company in the 1920s when she decided to borrow the fabric traditionally used for menswear and incorporate it into womenswear for the first time. Inter-gender clothes shifting has occured many times throughout human history; both genders sharing garments such as robes, skirts, leggings, hats, bags and more. Chanel is a fashion superpower; giving the world the quilted-leather shoulder bag and the Little Black Jacket, for example, but the highest esteem is held for her tweed suits and separates. Like women in general, I love the practicality of tweed, especially the way it keeps its shape. And, fashion is all about shape and silhouette.
François Leseage in the studio
Since 1924, Maison Lesage has been producing elaborate embroidery under the watchful eye of François Leseage, who passed away in 2011. This amazing work is used for Haute Couture, Ready-to-Wear fashion and accessories; requiring hours of work and craftsmanship. Excellency, an art embroidery school was created in 1992 and open to all embroidery enthusiasts. La Maison Lesage is renowned for producing the highest quality tweed in the world and joined the CHANEL Métiers d'Art in 2002.
The craftwork of Lesage tweed shows in its unfinished appearance from alternating the textures and kinds of threads that are woven together. If you've ever done any weaving, you'll be delighted to know there can be up to 12 separate threads used in a single warp, the vertical weave. But the weft, or horizontal weave can also be made of an unlimited amount of threads, yarns, beads, ribbons, or whatever you'd like to try. No doubt, this mad-weaver style gives this tweed its unique look. The infinite varieties of threads used for the weft, the finished fabric results in a never-ending amount of textures, thickness and twills.