HANDS ACROSS TIME
In his fully glazed office at 19M, the artistic director of Lesage sometimes likes to fancy himself in Amsterdam, overlooking the canals. His imagination is composed of wonder, colours, and everything that has made him what our era has left behind: a gentleman of good taste. Whether he is reciting a Fable by La Fontaine or delighting in the “rose cache” shade of a Chanel nail polish, Hubert Barrère relies as much on his hands as on his eyes for inspiration. At Lesage, which comprises 400 people across 5 departments, with clients ranging from Louis Vuitton to Alaïa and Jacquemus, there remains a passion for the exceptional French art of embroidery. “My hands are beings in their own right,” Hubert Barrère offers, quoting the lines from the prologue of Jocelyn, a mid-19th century novel by Alphonse de Lamartine.
Before joining Lesage in 2011, this tactile illusionist began his career as an embroiderer and corset maker creating exceptional pieces and costumes for stage. He quips, “I drew before I could talk – or to avoid talking.” From early childhood, the “great gardener” used to say that there were two things to soothe him: classical music and paper. Paper is where he freely draws: “The mind guides the hand, and all at once, it escapes… It is the very moment when space-time no longer exists”. The enchantment is there, at the beginning of a season full of colours, open to any kind of metamorphosis. Barrère, a native of Nantes, France, likes to evoke all the possibilities provided by his hands. As a child, he used to create cardboard villages to live in, and to build castles out of medicine boxes. A dream that has become a reality for the man who describes himself as “skilled, but not a handyman”. Having recently acquired a 15th-century house in the region of Angoulême, he intends to turn it into a foundation for creation, music, and craftsmanship.