Interview with Cécile, fashion designer at Lemarié (Chanel) // LISAA Alumni
Cécile Raynaud graduated from LISAA Mode in 2009, having specialised in Fashion and Textile Design. She worked for one year, up until last December, as a fashion designer at the Maison Lemarié, specialists in the art of plumasserie, fabric flowers and sewing. The house became a Chanel creative professional in 1996. We look back at this inspiring experience.
Image: Vincent Lappartient for Maison Lemarié
LISAA: WHAT WAS YOUR ROLE AT LEMARIÉ?
Cécile: My job at Lemarié was as assistant to the artistic director, Christelle Kocher. My role was to coordinate all the Chanel pieces (Ready-to-wear, Couture, accessories) made by our workshops.
I also worked on the creation of samples: for each collection, we presented to Karl Lagerfeld about 150 textile samples of all kinds showcasing the house’s craftsmanship— feathers, sewing, flowers. I was also in charge of supervising a team of designers and craftsmen brought together under the "Creative Department ", which was entirely dedicated to the design and production of samples.
WHAT CONTACT DID YOU HAVE WITH CHANEL?
My contact was with Virginie Viard for Haute-Couture [Chanel’s studio director and Karl Lagerfeld's right-hand woman], whom I would see from time to time at 31 rue Cambon. I also worked with designers from the ready-to-wear and shoe studio.
While the pieces were in production, I was also in contact with the workshop managers and the fabric departments that provided us with materials. I only met Karl Lagerfeld at the fashion show!
HOW DID THE WORK FOR CHANEL TAKE PLACE AT LEMARIÉ?
Everything ran like clockwork! Virginie Viard and Karl Lagerfeld gave us the theme of the collection, in very broad terms (for example Forest, Boat, Egypt, English Garden, etc.) and some information on the decor and installation of the catwalk show. From this information, we—the designers—did a lot of visual research to then start working on the first set of samples.
These samples were shown to Virginie, who passed them on to Karl, and then we waited for his sketches. Once we received these, they were sent and explained to the director of the workshops and all the relevant workshop managers—Couture, Feathers, Flowers.
When the design patterns arrived from the rue Cambon workshops, we were able to finally start the work. There was then regular communication with the heads of the rue Cambon workshops, particularly for technical issues. Once the piece was finished, it was sent to Virginie Viard's studio.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THIS EXPERIENCE?
I was very impressed by the perfectionism that everyone showed in their role—it was really inspiring. Even more so now that I have launched my women’s ready-to-wear brand in Asia.