Roses Without Thorns

Bruno Legeron's workshop in the centre of Paris appears, at first sight, to be a florist's paradise: each exquisite bloom is an unblemished example of floral perfection, immune to withering or fading, petal drop or leaf fall. For these flowers are destined to adorn the creations of the world's leading haute couturiers and fashion designers and are handmade, in silk, following methods that have scarcely changed in 200 years.

Legeron has been working here since he was a boy and learned the art at his mother's knee. She acquired her skill from her own mother, who had been taught by her father – the founder of the family business. 'We use almost exactly the same tools and methods that my great-grandfather used,' says Legeron, with pride. 'And I make our own paints from pigment and alcohols, just as he would have done.' A dozen skilled employees and one or two trainees now work beside Legeron in the busy workshop. 'I used to come here everyday after school,' he recalls. 'It was a magical environment for a child – silks, flowers and feathers in every colour imaginable filled the rooms and the skill of the artisans was mesmerising...'

You can read this article in full in Selvedge issue 24.

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