Combining traditional techniques and craftsmanship with the latest technology has always been at the heart of de Le Cuona.
Phantom is a celebration of pure and innovative craftsmanship. The delicate yet durable nature of this fabric captivated Bernie. To her, it emphasised artisanship of the highest order.
As one would expect from a fabric so unique, Phantom is crafted and developed for de Le Cuona by a small boutique atelier in the middle of France. It is fashion’s best kept secret, as the workroom exclusively works with fashion couturiers and artists.
Creating this fascinating fabric requires many steps. To start, a base cloth sheer linen is woven with fine threads and cut into strips. These strips are then adhered to paper with delicate stitching. The strips of fabric are lain vertically on the paper, while the stitching is done horizontally. This is then washed to dissolve away the paper backing, leaving a graceful yet resilient fabric. The stitches, though fine, are durable and add to the intricate detail of the beautiful fabric.
As a handmade fabric, Phantom is only exclusively available. Each piece has its own unique, irregular character and beauty, and the fabric’s attention to detail is pure artistry.
Metal Embroidery is an artisanal speciality offered by de Le Cuona’s bespoke service, and an occasional embellishment to some core collection cushions.
This ancient Indian tradition of metal thread-work has been carried out by hand for centuries, traditionally used in India on silk, brocade and velvet fabric to create the most beautifully embroidered sari’s, lehnga’s and scarves. Sewn one stitch at a time with a fine metal thread, the embroidery has also previously been used on badges, men's blazers, cavalry uniforms and for royalty.
Creating these bespoke pieces is a lengthy and meticulous process, which can take up to 10 weeks. To ensure that every fine detail is matched to perfection, de Le Cuona offers a sample of this metal thread work beforehand to ensure that high standards are being met.
As we harness the skills of these craftsmen to produce occasional embroidery on cushions, throws and pillows, the metal can also be dyed from bright greens to dark greys, to adapt the traditional bronze or silver for a more modern take on a classic art. All pieces are entirely customisable.
The longevity of this thread work means these beautiful pieces can be passed on from generation to generation, meaning you’re left with a beautiful and unique piece of art for your home, as well as a new family heirloom.
On her travels to France, Bernie discovered two artisans using vintage embossing rollers to transform beautiful plain leather into intricately embossed skins. Drawn to the complex effect it had on the plain fabric, she took it upon herself to adapt the technique and use it for her linens.
Due to the attention to detail, the process to create an embossed fabric is a lengthy one. de Le Cuona uses only specific embossers located in Northern France. The technique is specific and requires large rollers. The surface of the outer cylinder roll is adorned with an embossed damask. On the inside, this roller is filled with hot oil, which in turn heats up the outer cylinder. This is then rolled along a plain linen fabric, allowing for the long-lasting pattern to be permanently embossed.
The final result and character of the beautifully embossed fabric adds tactile elegance to a scheme, bringing visions of grandeur and splendour to life.
Bernie’s penchant for paisley was fired by her journeys to find unique textiles and rare techniques. Full of cultural depth and resonance, paisley has been part of her fabric family for many years becoming a famous signature design.
These weaves are so exceptional that the Victoria and Albert Museum has the Sun-Bleached Paisley in its woven fabric collection.
de Le Cuona’s prowess at creating some of the world’s most precious paisleys involves a long and rigorous creative process. Some take up to three years in development. It is this pursuit of excellence and uncompromised quality that gives each design a sense of integrity and exclusivity.
The creation of a de Le Cuona paisley involves using the best materials from the best countries. The design journey begins with a hand drawn sketch by Bernie, which is interpreted for the unique making processes, translating these drawings into a woven product is a labour of love.
It takes hundreds of metres of colour samples to get the palette, design and handle of the actual fabric right. The special dyes for the yarns are sourced from Switzerland and Germany. Just one metre of paisley requires nearly 13,500 metres of 100% wool threads and 6,200 metres of cotton threads.
The paisleys are crafted in Kashmir where each is so exquisitely detailed that only three metres can be woven per loom per day. The paisleys are then hand-washed to give them a deliciously soft drape.
The variety of colours from muted naturals to jewel-like shades makes these new reversible paisleys combine beautifully with de Le Cuona’s stable of luxurious linen, velvet and cashmere to create unique interior schemes
Stonewashed linens are amongst de Le Cuona’s most sought after fabrics.
While in India, Bernie saw craftsmen beating silk cloth to give it softness and a sheen. This tactic inspired her as she wanted to bring softness to her linen. However, upon experimenting she noted that the quality in India was not consistent while also being incredibly time consuming. In Europe, no one was willing to beat the fabric by hand and with a hammer. Faced with this dilemma, Bernie recalled a technique more commonly used in the fashion industry, and adapted it to suit her needs; with the use of a stone washing machine.
Originally invented to wash jeans and give them a faded look, Bernie used the stone washing machine to stone wash her linens, resulting in a ‘new look’. Previously, linen was mainly printed and there was no similar product on the market. Bernie had created a unique new look for interior linen fabric.
Being a trailblazer in this area, many have emulated Bernie’s style but de Le Cuona’s stonewashed linens remain amongst the best quality in the industry. To achieve a similar effect but reduce costs, many companies have taken to applying harsh chemicals to their fabrics, as opposed to washing them with stones. The chemicals have a harsh effect on the environment, which is why de Le Cuona has never explored this option.
Taking her knowledge and testing the boundaries further, Bernie decided she wanted to achieve a less rough surface. She filled her stone washing machine with golf balls instead of pumice stones, and her experiment succeeded; the golf balls had given the linen a softer surface. This alternative is still used for many of de Le Cuona’s slubbier linens.