Skip to content

The Mumbai atelier that is the key workshop of prime French style


Sitting in a lotus place, 4 males weave glittering beads via gold thread on an organza sheet, rigorously establishing a marriage gown that can quickly wow crowds at Paris Trend Week.

For as soon as, the French couturier behind the design, Julien Fournie, is decided to place these craftsmen within the highlight: his new assortment, exhibiting in Paris on Tuesday, is completely made with materials from Mumbai.

He says a form of “design imperialism” implies that French style homes typically play down the truth that their materials are made outdoors France.

“The homes which do not admit it are maybe afraid of shedding their clientele,” Fournie advised AFP.

However that’s absurd, he continued.

“India is primary on the earth in embroidery. It is ancestral. They have been dressing maharajas in gold-embroidered outfits because the sixteenth century.”

Fournie works with an organization referred to as Creations By Shanagar (that means “to adorn” in Sanskrit), housed in a non-descript beige constructing close to Mumbai’s worldwide airport.

Dozens of males in grey polo shirts sit cross-legged on cushions, heads bent over giant sheaths of material. There’s silence however for the press of needles and beads, the whirl of ceiling followers, and the occasional airplane overhead.

– ‘A variety of fantasy’ –

For many years, they’ve performed a necessary however unsung function within the style industries of Europe, Japan and the US.

“I like working with Julien as a result of he’s one other grasp craftsperson who is aware of his topic very effectively,” mentioned director Chetan Desai, 55.

“He has a variety of fantasy. He comes up together with his personal ideas and I’ve to translate these concepts into embroidery.

“It has been a really difficult expertise and on the identical time, it has been very fruitful,” he added.

Again in France, Fournie sends the compliments again.

“What they know tips on how to do higher than anybody is to embroider with degraded gold thread, passing it via clear beads to create shade gradients. It is unprecedented,” he mentioned.

It provides silk an aged, elegant search for marriage ceremony clothes that “shine, however not an excessive amount of”.

“High fashion clients do not need to seem like a Christmas tree,” he added.

“I’ve labored with nice French embroiderers and every time it is sophisticated. Everybody desires to place in their very own concepts and also you by no means get precisely what you need.”

-Star clients-

Desai’s father arrange Creations By Shanagar within the Nineteen Sixties as a workshop for handloomed and embroidered saris.

Within the Nineties, Desai seemed additional afield to France, partnering with Franco-Tunisian designer Azzedine Alaia on clothes that finally graced the likes of Naomi Campbell.

He doesn’t disclose the present purchasers on his books however his previous roster provides a way of the excessive demand. They embrace Jean Paul Gaultier, Yohji Yamamoto and Donna Karan.

Even Hollywood got here knocking, with Shanagar serving to design Nicole Kidman’s costumes for the 2001 hit “Moulin Rouge!”.

The atelier attracts staff from throughout India, similar to Biswajit Patra, 31, who has been working right here since he was 16.

“I discovered the commerce in my village close to Kolkata as a result of my father was doing the identical job and my brother and sister are additionally doing this job,” he mentioned.

Amongst their distinctive concepts is a means of rolling up items of tulle to make embroidered flowers.

“They’ve a spread of strategies that we do not have right here,” mentioned Jean-Paul Cauvin, director of Fournie’s home in France.

One of the crucial delicate jobs is getting ready the material as soon as it arrives from India and heads for the workshop the place it will likely be assembled into the clothes.

It’s Fournie himself who irons out the material.

“Sixty % of high fashion is ironing,” he mentioned with a smile.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *