Issue 29 Français
SMALL THINGS AND SIMPLE PLEASURES – the satisfaction of a job well done is a mainstay of the Amish way of life and it’s an attitude we can all embrace, particularly in these straightened
times. In our professional lives few of us are able to take credit for the creation of an entire object. Meeting targets, deadlines and objectives is all very well but it must be lovely to sit back at the end of your working day and admire something made with skill, ingenuity and the right materials.
In France, where we travel this issue, they have cultivated a true appreciation of artisan skills. Like the Japanese who designate their most gifted craftspeople as ‘Living National Treasures’, in France craftspeople compete to be known as ‘Un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France’ or 'One of the best craftsmen of France'. In this issue we visit the mills of La Maison Georges Le Manach, where the master weaver has earned that accolade, and the atelier of Gerard Lognon, an upholder of the tradition of fine pleating in Paris.
When one thinks about the finest craftspeople in France the countries’ couturiers spring to mind. This month sees the release of Coco Avant Chanel a film about the life of Coco Chanel. Building a fashion house is a struggle, a creative vision is essential but, as Chanel discovered, beautiful dreams cost money. Coco had Arthur Edward 'Boy' Capel but these days designers shelter under the wings of huge multinationals. We explore the structure of Fashion in Root and branch. We also celebrate past highlights of French fashion with the work of Raoul Dufy, artists who have inspired generations of designers including Ottavio and Rosita Missoni, whose collection of works from the period go on show in London this month.
When I think about the wonderful French notion of ‘joie de vivre’, I immediately think of colour and its power to change the way we feel. Ptolemy Mann, has based her work around this philosophy creating uplifting artworks for public spaces. In a more personal way the hand-dyed silk used in Alison Taylor’s garments, and cheerful, affordable accessories made by Danish Company rice, do the same – brighten the environment around us. It’s a worthy goal, and, if you’re not going far this year, why not make your home your project? Perhaps you can stretch to a day trip to Paris to browse the brocante, whatever you do, have a lovely summer.
Polly Leonard, Founder