Cristóbal Balenciaga revelled in the variety and quality of fabrics available in Paris in the 1950s and 60s, and forged close working relationships with the craftsmen and women making luxury textiles, embellishments and accessories, such as the firm Lesage.
Founded in the 1920s, Lesage was known for its virtuoso embroidery. Like Cristóbal Balenciaga, François Lesage, who ran the house in the 1950s and 60s, was interested in introducing unusual materials into his couture. He found it an honour to be patronised by 'The Master', and produced designs exclusively for Balenciaga's use. This film shows embroiderers at the current Lesage workrooms recreating the beautiful hot-pink beading and sequin work of Balenciaga's 1967 evening coat. The design is first marked out on tracing paper and perforated. A mixture of charcoal and resin is applied to transfer the pattern onto the fabric. The embellishment is then added, layer by layer, to create a precisely gradated design of white pearls (in a seemingly haphazard 'vermicelli' design), teardrop and pink feather-shaped sequins, and Swarovski crystals.