by Dora Haller
For the release of Wes Anderson’s latest film, "The Grand Budapest Hotel," Parisian design duo Marie Macon and Anne-Laure Lesquoy—who work under the label Macon & Lesquoy—created a pair of special embroideries: a set of keys belonging to the the hotel’s concierge, and a crown symbolizing Europe before the World Wars.
Anderson’s story unfolds in an off-the-wall universe, one not far from Macon & Lesquoy’s, who—with each design—aim to tell stories about life as they see it. It all started with an encounter with a Pakistani craftsman of military embroideries. He created his badges with the traditional cannetille technique, a metal ornamentation composed of thin wires to produce filigree patterns and Macon & Lesquoy were in awe of the precision and quality of the military badges. The duo asked the craftsman to make small motifs for them. First was a mustache, then a bow tie and soon the bulk of the French fashion world became enamored with the sweet and sometimes oddball patterns. And after fashion came the film industry: the Cannes Film Festival ordered two glamour-themed brooches: a glass of champagne and a star for the occasion.
Whimsical and endearing, the embroidered brooches are designed in Paris and handmade in Pakistan, in a small workshop where five craftspeople are employed full-time. “It takes long years to learn to make embroideries like they do,” says Macon. “It is impossible to make them with a machine, as the technique is very meticulous and detailed. First they cut a very long and thin spiral wire, then they stitch it to the fabric at some points so that it holds—exactly the same way as it was done in the 19th century. But back then, they needed to create heavily ornamented jewels to justify their price, whilst we wanted to design funny and simple motifs, and rejuvenate this beautiful technique."
Passionate about the symbolism of the Middle Ages and inspired by the famous Bayeux Tapestry (an embroidered cloth illustrating the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England), their latest “sewn stories” reflect the aesthetics of this era. Macon says, “With patches composed by several independent symbols, people like us—who love to tell stories with a touch of humor—could design their ‘personal tapestry’ directly on their own clothes.”
See Macon & Lesquoy's full collection online where prices for a handmade brooch start at $20.
Images courtesy of Macon & Lesquoy