One of the world’s leading fashion couture houses has been celebrating the hidden geniuses that make its fashion great – its legion of dressmakers that work tirelessly behind the scenes to translate the designers’ vision into world-class haute couture for the runways.

Chanel celebrates the dressmakers that make its brand great

Image Credit

Before every haute couture show, Chanel’s ateliers are packed with almost 100 dressmakers and seamstresses, who are called ‘petites mains’ or little hands and are responsible for the actual creation of each collection. The final hours before the show are a heady panic of final finishing touches and adjustments to ensure that everything is perfect for the cameras.

Countless hours and adjustments

Countless minute adjustments are made to each outfit to ensure that it fits its model perfectly. Dressmakers hand-bead embellishments and use their skills to create lavish pleats, embroidery and more – very few machines are in evidence for these master craftspeople.

The dressmakers talk about their passion for creating incredible couture from fabrics and wonderful shapes to release the material’s potential and whip up the timeless pieces for which Chanel is world famous. The brand has long recognised the value of this often unseen army of craftspeople, who are at the pinnacle of their game and who largely toil away unseen in the background.

A youthful demographic

Ateliers are often filled with surprisingly young and hip seamstresses, some sporting piercings and tattoos! Every haute couture client will receive at least two fittings when having something custom made for them – a process that takes three months from order placement to actual delivery. Each dress will be handmade across a period of 150 hours.

For dressmakers at home, Chanel couture may be off the menu; however, a legion of passionate craftspeople will take inspiration from the catwalks and rustle up incredible inspired outfits from velvets, silks, poplins and linen look cotton fabric from suppliers such as, embellishing, recreating and re-imagining looks to suit themselves and their clients if they work professionally.

The message is clear – the artisan seamstress is alive and kicking and more young people than ever are heading to this ancient and extremely demanding profession. Furthermore, perfection of the craft offers fantastic opportunities to follow hundreds of years of haute couture tradition, whether you dream of making your own wardrobe or ultimately dressmaking for a leading fashion house.