Hands Up: Inès Sahraoui (Dior)

September 28, 2021


Photo credits : Laurence Benaïm

Two large brown eyebrows above a black paper mask. Inès Sahraoui, a girl from the south with silver hands. Twenty-five years old in her Converse; the youngest of the entire ready-to-wear workshop. Brand new hands in which the blood of the world flows. A family from Oran, Algeria; a childhood in Aix-en-Provence; a grandfather and his brother who worked as men’s tailors. And ultimately, her desire to choose this profession at the very moment when these relatives are disappearing. This confidence made up of patience; this softness that one immediately feels in the kingdom of handkerchief hems, stork scissors and chalk wheels. There, among the Stockmans within clouds of immaculate gauze; the purring of Durkopp Adler machines; the crumpled tissue papers, the whispered words; that way of pulling back a lining with your fingertips, of “putting down a little bias”, to avoid flat stitching, especially when it comes to muslin, so “elusive.” “We chase the fabric, we let it flow,” she says. “We must not upset it”. Crepe de chine is docile; the satin frays; the tulle shrinks in contact with steam; velvet marks and shines quickly; and silk crepe puckers in contact with a hot iron. Inès doesn’t like pencil cases; everything fits in her drawers – from wire cutters to small pliers stored in a jar of Fouquet sweets, from tools to prick 3 millimeters from the edge, to hand creams. “A dry skin can scuff a gauze,” she remarks. Let’s not focus on the nail that is poorly filed…  Anyway, the file is useful for underwiring, to prevent the tissue from sticking. The surface of the sewn breath, with tops softer than the undersides, themselves lined for support as a spider-like presence. A pink lurex or a leopard print draped dress lined with green tulle. A dream hand – or a hand dream? “Continue to learn,” says Inès. “There is a real exchange between all the generations. I feel good here because I know I prefer delicate things, pleats. There is more poetry in the flou. A dress can tell stories all on its own”. @laurence-benaim

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