Skip to content

The Legacy of Lesage: “The King of Embroidery”

The legacy of François Lesage, a French embroidery designer and heir to the embroidery atelier, Maison Lesage, who died in early December 2011, is one seeped into the seams of the fine and decorative arts. Born in 1929 into “a pile of beads and sequins,” as Lesage once put it, referring to his family’s involvement in couture emrboidery since before his birth, a foreshadowing of greatness was not only pretictable, but has left an impression and imprint on fashion resitent to fade. Amongst his many talents and contributions to the high fashion world, Lesage was primarily cherished for conserving the couture craft of emrboidery, promoting his established way-of-work by making every stitch and attaching every bead by hand–a quality reflected in the works his atelier produced, as well.


During the time of Lesage’s peak and popularity, the world’s premiere fashion houses, including Givenchy, Balenciaga, Dior, Christian Lacroix, and, most recently, American-brands, Calvin Klein and Oscar de la Renta, were noted as famous and loyal clients. In 2002, he sold the Maison Lesage to Chanel, yet maintained the same name. During the later years of his life, Lesage was awarded the Maître d’Art from the French Ministry of Culture, one week before his death. Ministry member Frédéric Mitterrand stated, “I cannot imagine fashion without embroidery, embroidery without Monsieur Lesage,” after his passing.


Lesage’s legacy includes his prominence in emrboidery, even amongst a sea of dwindling couture designers in a new time and era for fashion, a revered name that has become the cornerstone of his field, and a standard of quality for fine-tuned detailing, exquisite craftsmanship, and a genuine passion for the decorative arts.