I was delighted to accept an invitation from the venerable fabric house, Scalamandré to come up and see their showrooms and meet some of their staff. Each and every person I met could not have been more warm and welcoming and I truly appreciated their willingness to share their knowledge and expertise with me.I spent several hours in the company of the charming Ed Goodman, chief of the passementerie division of Scalamandré. He was filled with funny stories, fascinating historical vignettes and loads of incredible talent. The passementerie ranged from seemingly simple fringes to the most elaborate swagged trims. Tassel, fringes, cordings, pompons, rosettes and gimps are all part of the vocabulary of this department. The finest silks, in every sense of the word fine, was used to create these extraordinary pieces.
What made me gasp was the sheer beauty of each piece, as well as the recognition of how much hand-work and craftsmanship it took to assemble not just the few inches that I saw, but the yards and yards needed for even the simplest job.
Here are some of my favourite pieces of passementerie.
This boullion fringe hung from the Metropolitan Opera’s curtain. This is the detail of one piece of fringe. I loved this silvery-grey piece with bobbles! But when you see the piece in detail, you realize how many colours make up the whole. This piece, filled with incredible detail, sells for about $4500/yard.And when you see the incredible work that goes into each inch, let alone yard, you can see why! I really loved some of the more geometric pieces where you can trace the path of the braid. Hand-formed, hand made. This isn’t something a machine can do. These almost have the look of a Fabergé egg. I was intrigued to see how many colours made up each strand of the knot,and how some of the knots were reminiscent of stone carvings I saw in Celtic churches in Wales and Scotland. I adored this amazing piece, with more than 500 tassels per yard! It was easy to anthropomorphize these pieces and see little figures in them. The mix and range of colours never ceased to amaze me. Just incredible!
Stay tuned for more from Scalamandré, including spectacular fabrics.
Special thanks to Mr. Ed Goodman for taking the time to educate me on this incredible trade and for the patience in answering my myriad questions!