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Sew Skilled: UC Fashion Students Study at Prestigious Paris School Owned by Chanel

Three UC fashion students are currently studying in Paris, in a school affiliated with the city’s oldest embroidery and beading studio. In both the studio (Maison Lesage) and the school (Ecole Lesage), all work is completed by hand in order to create detailed and delicate embroidery, beading and apparel adornments.

Date: 12/2/2013 9:30:00 AM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Provided

UC ingot   Working on the small scale for the biggest names in fashion is part of the 132-year history at Paris’ prestigious Maison Lesage, the House of Lesage.
Attending the school (Ecole Lesage) affiliated with that renowned embroidery and beading studio and learning its respected traditions are three University of Cincinnati fashion students from UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP).
UC student Julie Burget at Ecole Lesage in Paris.
UC student Julie Burget at Ecole Lesage in Paris.

Seniors Julie Burget, Samantha Crow and Calle Evans – called the “Ohio girls” by their French instructors – are the first UC students to ever study a Lesage, and they are making the most of the opportunity to learn the art of beading and thread design.
Says Burget, 22, of Findlay, Ohio, “While here in Europe, I am working on embroidery a lot. After all, we have quite a bit of homework after class every day. But I also find time to work on my senior thesis, paint and try to see as many museums, exhibits and interesting sites as possible. I’ve already been to several countries throughout Europe, but I would like to see more of France.”
A 2009 graduate of Findlay High School, she decided to study at Lesage after her spring 2013 cooperative education term working at Tory Burch in New York City. Part of her role at Tory Burch was with the designer’s embellishment team, and Burget admits, “I kind of fell in love with it. At the end of my time there, I asked one of the embroidery designers if she thought it would be a good idea for me to go to embroidery school. It’s an area I’d like to work in for real one day. She encouraged me to go for it, and so, I set my sights on getting to Paris and studying at Lesage.”
The story is much the same for Crow, 22, of Toledo, Ohio, and Evans, 22, of Urbana, Ohio.
Crow also co-opped in the spring with Tory Burch, and was able to occasionally work with the embroidery team. She recalls, “They were one of the few teams that were still able to physically create art during their day to day jobs. I wanted to make it a reality for myself. Learning such a unique skill such as embroidery can only further my knowledge and potential as a fashion designer.”
UC student Calle Evans at Ecole Lesage in Paris.
UC student Calle Evans at Ecole Lesage in Paris.

Much like her classmates, Evans – a 2009 graduate of Urbana High School – opted to attend Ecole Lesage to “learn to design with beads, sequins, other materials and different types of stitches” after a spring internship. Her was with Marchesa, a New York City fashion design firm known for beautifully embroidered and embellished garments frequently seen on the red carpet.
All three of the UC students will receive both co-op credit during the term abroad as well as Lesage certification in Haute Couture embroidery.
It will be a certification won by means of perseverance. All three agree that the difficult art of beading and embroidery requires precision, attention, intuition, trust in yourself and patience. Says Burget, “But most of all, you have to be VERY patient.”
Adds Evans, whose future goal is to be an entrepreneur who conducts in-house embroidery, “The most important thing I have learned so far is patience and how to really take my time. Lesage is known to create beautiful garments for large-name designers, and they truly put in the hours and dedication so it comes out perfect! I have really slowed down and learned to focus on the little aspects that make up this whole beautiful piece of art.”
They also agree that the best part of their studies has been the relationships they are forming in the school. Says Crow, “The best part about Lesage would be the relationships with our professors. They truly care about our progress and want to make sure we are learning as much as we want to.”
UC student Samantha Crow at Ecole Lesage in Paris.
UC student Samantha Crow at Ecole Lesage in Paris.

And while their skills grow, the “Ohio girls” are also threading the challenges inherent in living and studying abroad. For instance, Crow – a 2009 graduate of St. Ursula Academy – traveled to Paris knowing very little French and admits that going to cafes was a terrifying experience in the beginning, but now, it’s an adventure.
“I’ve had to learn a lot on my toes and go with the flow, and I’ve gotten very good at the art of reading body language. Treating the language learning and barrier as fun and interesting has made for a lot of growth, and I’m a lot more comfortable now,” she says, adding, however, that she doesn’t want to get too comfortable.
After all, Crow continues, “The best part of living in Paris is not knowing how every day is going to turn out.”