Today’s post was inspired by a tweet from Joyce Connor from Brides and Beauty (lovely lady, great sense of humour and well worth reading her blog) alerting me to the wonderous craftmanship and sheer beautiful of the haute couture parasols as exquisite accessories designed and created at Parasolerie Heurtault.
Michel Heurtault the designer and craftsman behind Parasolerie Heurtault, has emerged as the greatest designer of parasols and umbrellas of French Haute Couture. As soon as I viewed Michel’s designs I knew that I had to find out more about Michel, his inspiration and Parasolerie Heurtault especially for weddings.
French Wedding Style – photography © – Parasolerie Heurtault
Michel has been passionate about parasols and umbrellas since he was a kid. He has always been interested and fascinated about the history of fashion and especially interested in the evolution of fabrics, materials and the transformation of designing techniques. Michel finds in the design of an umbrella, all his centers of interests unified in one unique object. Mr. Heurtault loves the intriguing diversity of forms and shapes that one can give working on the tension of the fabrics assembled on a chosen structure.
Michel has studied on his own from antique pieces how the parasol and umbrella’s shapes have evolved and which techniques have been used to create them. This is the foundation of my knowledge. “From a pagoda shape to a Japanese parasol style, every shape is possible, there is a large potential I love to explore to design and create new objects” Michel says. His 20 years career as a historical costumes designer gave him the knowledge of history of fashion, working on any forms, styles and shapes. As a famous corset designer for the haute couture, designing and providing corsets for Dior, he learned passionately the delicate and precise technique of the perfect tension between the frame and the fabric, this expertise is required to get the perfect tension on a specific shape of the umbrella canopy.
When looking at the design and inspiration for a parasol Michel is usually inspired by reading books, he imagines the umbrellas and parasols for his characters. He can also create a design looking at a dress, a person in the street dressed specifically. Is all about style, and creating an object that match perfectly the style.
Michel finds vintage, handles, frames usually on the flea market, but he also have a fan based who knows that he is passionate about umbrellas and they are hunting for him, more and more we also have been receiving old umbrellas and parasols as a gift from people from all over the world, knowing Michel is the connoisseur.
Approximately how long does it take to actually make each parasol?
It depends of the level of sophistication of the object. It goes from a full half day to couple of days depending of the complexity or the originality of the creation. Michel: “I have worked on extremely sophisticated creation during more than 80 hours for an outstanding to measure object.”
What is the most popular design of parasol/umbrella that people ask you to create?
For the brides, the most popular parasol is the “Longchamp” with the ostrich feathers but obviously very expensive as it is an extremely complicated work, the Southampton parasol then is the most ordered as it can be created bespoke with a variation of colors for the canopy and the silk lining.
The most popular umbrella for European women is the “Enghein” and the “Sixties”
If a bride based outside of Paris wanted to commission parasols for her wedding day, how would this be achieved and what price do bespoke parasols start from?
For a bride based out of Paris, she would have to send us the details of her dress and explain the style of parasol she wants, with 6 months in advance, we would create proposals with variation of style and finish with prices and details.
Choice comes with various handle style, laces, silk, lining and finish such as initials engraved on gold or silver ring on the parasol. When the choice is made, then we can create bespoke the perfect bridal parasol matching thestyle.It is very important for us to find the right colour of fabric and laces matching the dress so the creation is perfect. We do ship all over the world with international career.
Michel’s favourite umbrella currently is the Montesquiou umbrella, because it is the most sophisticated creation but because it represents elegance and style as opposed to mass production disposable umbrellas. Elegant people today cannot find high quality umbrella matching their haute couture dress and style, it was time to change this. Michel says “Sometime I see a extremely well dress woman walking in the street of Paris, with amazing shoes, dress, bag, haircut but carrying an ugly folding umbrella, it is such a shame”.
The oldest Michel has restored so far is a 1790 umbrella, whalebone ribs frame that was completely restored, a new precious silk canopy and replacement of broken whalebone ribs.
Since the opening of the atelier, Michel has a dozen of trainees every years from all fashion and costume design schools coming from everywhere in France, they learned during a couple weeks training the work of designing and creating parasols and umbrellas.
Since 2011, Michel is passing his knowledge to an apprentice permanently based at the atelier; Andrea is learning everything so the knowledge is passed on for the future.
The ambition for Parasolerie Heurtault is to become known in the world of craftsmanship worldwide to defend the knowhow and quality work handmade so people will reduce consuming disposable umbrellas.
I am sure to go and make an appointment for Parasolerie Heurtault when I am next in France or alternatively visit their website for more gorgous products www.parasolerieheurtault.com