Chanel's artisanal division acquires tweed manufacturer


Benjamin Fitzgerald

French artisan Lesage - owned by Chanel - has acquired a smaller firm, ACT 3, for use of its tweed fabrics in Chanel's haute couture and ready-to-wear collections.


French embroiderer Lesage, an artisanal arm of fashion house Chanel, revealed on Friday it has acquired of one of its own suppliers, the Association Création Textile, also known as ACT 3.

A producer of tweed fabrics in the southwest of France, ACT 3 will officially join the Chanel subsidiary dedicated to the crafts trades, Paraffection, which has bought several ateliers since 1985. Some of these include embroiderers, feather workers, as well as boot makers linked to haute couture.

Located in Jurançon in the French region of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, ACT 3 is made up of 16 employees who specialize in the creation, production and commercialization of fabrics and tweeds. According to the Paris-based
Lesage - which also runs a renowned school that teaches artisans the art of embroidery - ACT 3’s work is fabricated for ready-to-wear and couture houses, as well as creating detailing for accessories and decoration.

Lesage was one of ACT 3’s principle customers before the takeover, which it has worked with since 2003 for the manufacturing of tweeds. Most notably, ACT 3 fabrics are a favourite used by tailors at Chanel, evidently prompting the merger.

"ACT 3 offers exceptional and rare know-how required to make the Lesage creations which associate new materials - sequins, organza, ribbons and leather laces - that make up the inimitable signature and originality of the
Maison Lesage tweeds," Bruno Pavlovsky, President of Lesage and the head of Chanel's fashion activities, told AFP reporters.

The acquisition followed initial take over talk from ACT 3 President, Maria Messner, in the hopes of "developing and expanding the structure." 

After difficulties in 2009, Messner told reports that ACT3 "is doing very, very well" and is "creating jobs locally."

Despite being bought out, ACT 3 will continue its collaborations with all of its current customers in the fashion and decoration world, Lesage revealed.

The embroidery house, created by François Lesage, was bought in 2002 by Chanel. At the same time the fashion house acquired other artisanal brands, including crafts maker Desrues; feather worker Lemarié; milliner Maison Michel; and boot maker Massaro. 

The aforementtioned craft traders and their works were also showcased this week in Chanel’s Métiers d’Art collection, which was presented by Karl Lagerfeld on Tuesday in Salzburg, Austria.