This residency provided Nikole the unique opportunity to converse with specialists and learn more about the inner workings of these workshops and luxury houses, allowing her to develop new ideas and knowledge for her future career in millinery.
Words are not enough to describe my experience in Paris. I feel very lucky and I will be eternally grateful for having the opportunity to experience this residency, that was magical for me. Valérie Sandoz is my Fairy Godmother herself, she made all my wishes came true.
The day of my arrival Valérie and Laurent welcomed me at the hotel, where they told me more in-depth about the Colbert Committee and gave me the Comité’s book.
After that meeting, I had already planned a visit to the Flory Brisset Atelier, it is a textile laboratory that I have been following for years and this time I had to go to visit, I tried to make the most of every second in Paris, that's why in the moments that I knew I had free I organised some meetings beforehand. To my surprise, Flory's Atelier was two blocks from Valérie's house, it was perfect. Flory Brisset's atelier did not let me sleep at night with the spectacular things I saw.
On Thursday afternoon we went to the Chanel Métiers d'art studios. We were greeted by Victoire, from Chanel, the first visit was to Lognon
, the house of pleats. It seems like magic because it is very difficult to understand without seeing the process. There you discover all the secrets. What impressed me the most of all the places we went to is the delicate way of doing everything. I already knew the pleating house in London, it is called Ciment Pleating
, but it will remain engraved on me forever how in Lognon they delicately blew the fabrics so that they fit perfectly between the cartons.
The second visit was to Maison Michel
, the house of hats. AWESOME, I was in many workshops, between theatres and milliner studios, but this collection of hat blocks is the largest in the world for sure. I would have stayed to live there if they let me use them! They were corridors of lasts, more than 4000 models.
The third visit was to Massaro
, the house of shoes. Each person who worked there had their corner where they specialised in a part of the shoe. They were just working on the shows this week so I couldn't take many photos. The tools were very interesting, and, again, the number of show blocks they own is incredible.
The closing of the first day was a dinner at Valérie's, where I was introduced to people linked to the world of art. Couldn’t be better!
On Friday Laurent looked for me and we went to the exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs
(MAD) of The Story of Shoes. At noon we had lunch in the same museum, where Valérie introduced me to Florence, who then took us to the warehouses where all the museum treasures are kept. I'm used to seeing the costume deposits in theatres, which are copies of all this, but here was the real thing! All the treasures of any century and I could even choose what to see. From dresses, costumes of royal families, gloves, umbrellas, parasols, shoes, hats obviously !, royal baby clothes, fans, everything but absolutely everything kept in a way that I don't know how to describe to keep its better condition. Each hanger is made to measure for each dress so that there is no type of force that damages it. Corridors and corridors of these closets that open with ruffles. Drawers with lace wrapped between papers. Textile books. This day was an information bomb for my brain! I would like people to dress again the way they used to. Everything was made with love, and it shows!
By Friday, I had a meeting in a fabric place. I found materials from the future, which I can't wait to start experimenting with.
Saturday and Sunday I took them to visit other museums, the Cluny Museum
, where there was an exhibition of embroidery from the Middle Ages and the Museum of Arts and Crafts, which was very interesting, but one day was not enough.
On Monday we visited the Opéra National de Paris
! I was delighted. I love theatres and their workshops. The Colón Theatre, The Royal Opera House and now the Opera Garnier. Each theatre has its own way of working, but they all have that same magic that cannot be explained. We visit the entire wardrobe department, they have specialised workshops in different areas: tailoring, tutus, headgear, tights, accessories, painting, dyeing, props. And then we visit the Palace, the hall, the stage and the backstage.
On Tuesday we finished with Dior Heritage
. I think there is no place more impeccable than this. Each place was beating the previous one. But at Dior, it's like everything is stored in capsules. Excellence to the max in everything. We visit the room where the accessories are kept: hats, shoes, jewellery, and details. They took us to a room where they were working to rebuild the embroidery on a dress that had been damaged. To finish we went to the area where the dresses are kept, some on hangers, others more delicate in drawers. From drawings and designs to fashion magazines from centuries ago.
I really can't describe in words that much. The learning and wisdom of this week are incalculable. The energy and desire that I have are more and more! I feel that I have not even started doing what I have in mind and I have a lot of work ahead of me.I really can't describe in words that much. The learning and wisdom of this week is incalculable. The energy and desire that I have are more and more! I feel that I have not even started doing what I have in mind and I have a lot of work ahead of me.