Small hands, sparkly eyes

Small hands, sparkly eyes

Some of my strongest memories of beautiful craftsmanship are connected with my years working for Yves Saint Laurent in Paris. I have been incredibly privileged during this time to witness the making of some of the couturier's iconic smoking suit and the wildest evening gowns ever made in contemporary times.

Lunch in satin

My own sewing skills never stretch beyond stitching button shirts but I would run up the stairs during my lunch-break to sit with the ‘petites mains’ (lit. little hands: Haute Couture seamstresses). Watching them conscientiously sew on delicate satin, lace and organza and other divine fabrics featuring unimaginable embroidery work is one of my most cherished 'moments of grace'.

Three hundred kilos of beads

These ‘petites mains’ with a talent as huge as the Eiffel Tower and quasi-religious respect for ‘Monsieur’ Saint Laurent, as they would refer to him, wore hundreds of anecdotes like a second skin. Almost child-like their eyes would sparkle when they were telling me that they could use up to 300 kg of beads in one year and that the two jackets inspired by Van Gogh's Sunflowers and Irises, had each required 600 hours of meticulous work, 250 000 sequins in 22 colours, 200 000 pearls and 250 meters of ribbon. Like a little girl I would listen, mouth open.

Craftsmanship brings tears to my eyes

I don’t know if everyone feels as emotional I do in the face of such a high degree of craftsmanship or if one must be of the passionate type. In any case, I always struggle to find words that can describe my wonder at such devotion, and always remain immensely appreciative and respectful of such work. Today I know that this is when my passion for beautiful fabrics was born.

Yves Saint Laurent jakke

Six hundred hours of hand embroidered art at Yves Saint Lauent

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