The Future of A French Lace Factory

A staff member at Sophie Hallette factory, working on some lace: Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

A staff member at Sophie Hallette factory, working on some lace: Credit Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

Credit Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

A staff member at Sophie Hallette factory, working on some lace: Credit Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

How ironic that clunky industrial machines of the Sophie Hallette factory turn out the most delicate lace – Chantilly lace, Leavers lace, and silk tulle. It has been this way since its was founded in the late 1800s at the height of the industrial revolution. In the small town of Caudry, France, sits this factory, a favorite supplier for luxury fashion houses such as Chanel, Gucci, and Erdem. And now, thanks to financial support from Chanel, Sophie Hallette factory will be able to continue to make lace well into the future. Says Chanel fashion president, Bruno Pavlovsky: “We want to guarantee they will stay in business and keep doing what they do.” Because Sophie Hallette is now a member of Chanel’s Métiers d’Art, a consortium of artisan suppliers that the fashion company either owns or has invested in. To that point, Pavlovsky concedes: “Deals like this nourish the progress of product development. We are constructing something not only for today but also for tomorrow.” Lacemaking is handed down from generation to generation and for the artists and craftsmen their extensive training is rewarded with a great sense of pride in their work. Joining this consortium guarantees the merging of the traditions of yesterday with the technology of today, and a chance for lace to continue to beautify the fashion world.

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