Chanel Buys 'satellite Groups'

Discussion in 'Designers and Collections' started by Acid, Aug 2, 2003.

  1. Acid

    Acid yes

    Jun 30, 2002
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    Chanel has purchased the 5 companies which supply beads, hats, shoes, fabrics and bags for its Couture label.
    they are known as the 'satellite groups' said Karl L.

    This move is in attempt to keep the couture house of chanel going for many years more, especially as only 11 of the original couture houses are still in opperation
  2. mrrene

    mrrene New Member

    Jul 7, 2002
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    There's a pretty detailed story in the Straits Times about it:

    Copyright 2003 New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad
    New Straits Times (Malaysia)

    July 20, 2003, Sunday

    SECTION: Fashion; Pg. 14

    LENGTH: 1424 words

    HEADLINE: Satellites in the Chanel galaxy

    BYLINE: By Sunita Chhabra

    IN 1946, there were 277 feather makers (plumassier) in Paris. In 1960,
    only 49 remained. Today, there is possibly only one left. As for
    embroiderers, there are 200 in France and four million in India. If these
    figures don't tell the story, what will? A unique heritage of
    craftsmanship was in danger of dying out, and something had to be done.

    Chanel came to the rescue through the purchase of five fashion
    suppliers, without which French fashion wouldn't be what it is today. Karl
    Lagerfeld renamed them Satellites. It's a way of ensuring such skilled
    creativity does not die out but instead, will soar to new heights.

    Said a Chanel representative: "It is a real investment in creativity
    which, aside from preserving a unique heritage and know-how, should help
    the still-independent companies to not only grow and break new ground but
    also shape new skills to ensure the future existence of our business

    In simple terms, Chanel now owns these companies, but the Satellites are
    at liberty to supply other clients, which includes other famous fashion
    houses. These workshops have, over the past four generations, participated
    in Chanel's collections and those of other houses like Dior, Yves St
    Laurent, Christian Lacroix, Lanvin and Scherrer.

    There's Desrues for costume jewellery, Lemarie for feathers, Lesage for
    embroidery, Massaro for shoes, and Michel for millinery.

    Chanel's approach is based on a cultural choice and a desire to affirm
    its commitment to these companies with which it has long shared high
    standards of quality, exclusivity and innovation. To honour these
    craftsmen and to pay tribute to the trades in which they engage with such
    passion, Lagerfeld presented 33 dazzling designs - dubbed Satellite Love -
    at its Haute Couture Salon on Rue Cambon.

    Beaded sweaters over satin skirts, delicately ruffled chiffon blouses,
    pleated tops, cashmere sweaters with embroidered crystals - the designs
    received a grand ovation, except that the virtuosos being applauded around
    Lagerfeld were the craftspeople.

    Michel, milliner

    Established in 1936, Maison Michel, an authorised supplier of major
    fashion brands, is now part of Chanel's galaxy because this company knows
    how to groom a felt, or cut out a straw hat with unrivalled precision and

    Monsieur Pierre started out in 1971 as a lowly employee at Michel, a
    high-fashion workshop on Rue Sainte-Anne. He became the boss three years
    later. These milliners worked for Dior, Lacroix, Scherrer and Feraud.
    Pierre made hats for Claude Pompidou, Lady Diana and Bernadette Chirac.

    When he sold Maison Michel, Pierre had a good cry but was happy. He has
    been heard to philosophise: "I'm an old-fashioned sort of person; I'm not
    immortal and I realise that hats - like me - are a disappearing species.
    Even millinery suppliers are dwindling. There used to be 25 felt factories
    in Chazelles-sur-Lyon in the 1950s, but now there's only one left..."

    In the 19th Century, women refused to leave the house without a hat. Is
    it making a comeback in the 21st Century? Yes, but in other forms. Large,
    wide-brimmed hats are still basically reserved for race courses, Grand
    Prix events, weddings and ceremonies; while bonnets, toques, turbans,
    cloches, berets, caps and visors can be seen in podiums and on public

    DESRUES, costume jeweller - buttons, chains and dreams

    Buttons take on a new meaning at Desrues - they are designed with the
    greatest care and attention to detail, as precious as the dresses, jackets
    and coats they adorn. These decorative buttons are the "babies" of costume
    jeweller Desrues, which insists on quality and variety.

    About 100 new styles are produced each season and phenomenal quantities
    of raw material are used - one million buttons a year made of copper,
    silver, mother-of-pearl, bead, wood and galalith. (Galalith, one of the
    oldest plastic materials, was discovered in 1897 when two German
    researchers solidified milk casein by adding a bit of formaldehyde. The
    term has its origins in the Greek words "gala" for milk and "lithos" for

    Add to that the thousands of chains, necklaces, brooches, belts and
    clasps created each year by Lagerfeld and you begin to understand why
    Desrues was the first Satellite to join the Chanel galaxy.

    MASSARO, shoemaker

    To walk on the path of luxury, one should start with custom-tailored
    shoes, says Lagerfeld who is himself a loyal customer of Massaro.

    Massaro's shoes were a must - the Duchess of Windsor ordered every model
    in multiple colours; Barbara Hutton needed 100 pairs a month; and
    Elizabeth Taylor and Marlene Dietrich were regular customers. Massaro's
    even made shoes for the Pope.

    For the last half century, in the eyes (and feet) of the stars, no one
    in the world rivals the perfection and precision of Raymond Massaro, a
    third-generation shoemaker.

    In 1958, at Coco Chanel's request, he created what could be called the
    shoes of the century - the famous beige sandal with a black toecap, which
    was copied by the millions. Massaro hasn't sold out yet but swears that he
    will sign only with Chanel and that this is only a matter of time.

    LESAGE, embroiderer

    Francois Lesage was the captain of a ship that none of his four children
    wanted to steer, but he has now found his port. He now has a crew of 49
    with an average age of 37.

    From fashion houses like Worth and Galliano to more than a century of
    fashion and nine million hours of work on 60,000 samples of embroidery,
    the workshops are an Ali Baba's cave from which have emerged legends like
    the coronation mantle for former emperor of the Central African Republic
    Jean-Bedel Bokassa, Chanel's Coromandel (requiring 2,000 hours of work),
    dresses and more.

    Between collections, Lesage shuts himself away in his office and
    finalises about a 100 patterns that are added to his chest of samples.

    The deal here includes the setting up of the Artistic Embroidery School
    "to drag embroidery upwards". The number of embroiderers may be dwindling,
    but Lesage has an optimistic outlook despite the problems facing a
    profession which requires "eyes on the end of your fingers".

    This is mainly because the labour pool is extremely loyal and
    passionate: "One is an embroiderer for a day or for a lifetime".

    Lesage's life work is history sewn with a golden thread. Now that
    embroidery is moving into ready-to-wear apparel, it means 900 to 1,000
    guaranteed repeats. This requires handmade wares on a large scale,
    guaranteeing work for the entire workshop and subsequently, its continuous
    running with profits. One look at the exquisite and breathtaking work
    produced at Lesage workshops and any sane woman will thank their lucky
    stars that steps have been taken to ensure the craft lives on.

    LEMARIE, feather maker

    Lemarie is, in all probability, the only feather maker (plumassier) in
    France. This endangered profession is a unique heritage that Chanel wants
    to preserve by taking over this company. Lemarie was founded over a
    century ago by Palmyre Coyette, Andre Lemarie's grandmother, when birdcage
    hats were in fashion. The heritage consists of the archives, the memories
    and the skills. Then there are the treasures lying dormant in large
    drawers - plumes of birds of paradise, feathers of vultures, swans and
    peacocks - of birds that are now considered protected species.

    In 1987, Lemarie smoothed 5,000 bird of paradise feathers for Yves St
    Laurent in a single stunning dress. In 1990, he wanted a coat resembling a
    lion's mane and this took the feathers of 700 vultures and 200 pheasants.
    Today, ostrich, goose, turkey and guinea fowl feathers are dyed, refined,
    curled and "hooked", allowing any metamorphosis following the whims of
    fashion. At Chanel, Lagerfeld uses them discreetly in fine fringes or in
    tassels, with feathers and beads mixed together.

    Above all, Lemarie is the camellia man - since feathers and flowers
    require the same light, meticulous touch. Since the first ones ordered by
    Coco Chanel in the early 1960s, the camellia at Rue Cambon has played
    chameleon and comes in tweed, leather, fur, satin, organdy and plastic.
    Lemarie delivers some 20,000 blooms a year to Chanel. He would ask no more
    than to vary the pleasures - the rose, iris, violet or orchid, he knows
    all the flowers petal by petal. Regretfully, milliners hardly use them

    Monsieur Lemarie has sold his shares in the company but he is paid as a
    consultant and still calls in every day.

    LOAD-DATE: July 20, 2003
  3. tott

    tott slightly dizzy

    Aug 25, 2002
    Likes Received:
    I really like this.

    Craftsmanship needs to be preserved!

    :heart: :heart: :heart:

    (OK, it might bring in money as well; as long as the quality and knowledge is still there I'm all for it!)
  4. Chanelobsessed

    Chanelobsessed New Member

    Jan 11, 2008
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    I love this post...thank you :smile:
  5. prettygeekysis

    prettygeekysis New Member

    Jan 31, 2008
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    There was just an in-depth and interesting documentary on TV here about the process...that is, the process behind the scenes. They especially focused on the beading and what have you and the fashion week crunch.

    I wish I remembered what channel it was on...I could've posted it here to the forums (the video).

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