An exclusive interview with Mariane Léger, the founder of Yumé Péma, a sensory designer and an artistic artisan.
In the heart of the Première Vision Paris show, Maison d’Exceptions is an area exclusively set aside for fashion designers and luxury brands. This exclusive showcase welcomes 27 ateliers with rare know-hows, and offers an international and diverse selection of exceptional techniques. For the February 2017 edition, Yumé Péma joins Maison d’Exceptions for the first time.
What distinguishes the expertise at Yumé Péma, an atelier dedicated to ultra laser handwork?
I would say the ability to use a laser to transform material in an extremely precise manner, down to the tenth of a millimetre, which is impossible to achieve by hand. This is what makes Yumé Péma a workshop of ultra laser work. The engraving and laser-cutting details are obtained without leaving what are called combustion traces. When I put the material in contact with the heat, I know that it will melt, tighten up or become inflamed. This understanding is intuitive. I would say that the workshop uses a laser to practice the art of mastering fire. This is how I experience my work, as both a designer and craftsman.
Despite its potential, laser cutting, as you have noted, remains fairly unrecognized … which preconceived ideas would you like to get rid of?
Lasers don’t necessarily burn, don’t destroy everything and aren’t always cheap. When you acquire an understanding of lasers and how they work, you acquire a kind of ability to master the technology and the material. We can go much further than you might think. The artistic directions that called on me tend to say: “Wow, it’s really possible – we can do that!” Implementing a project takes up to two years: from the time that the artistic directors understand the range of possibilities and then appropriate them from a stylistic point of view.
Tell us what achievements your atelier is particularly proud of?
I am extremely satisfied each time I push back the potential of a material, because I consider myself an explorer. For example, I managed to cut out white Orylag without leaving burn traces on the length of the hair. A first! I also managed to work with silk twill after the client had tried laser cutting, water jet and stamping, all unsuccessfully. That was very satisfying! And what’s even more amazing, I was contacted by the parapharmaceutical industry. I discovered how to burn films that are only 30 microns thick!
How has your former experience as a haute couture milliner helped you ?
Well now, for example, I engrave, cut out, and make marquetry with feathers. No one handles a feather by accident: we came across it and we observed its potential. It was the discovery of it that most amazed me! For me, headwear is almost the best way of exploring textiles and soft materials, because I have accumulated a huge database of materials.
Wood is one of your favourite materials. In 2015, you were the winner of the ARTINOV “Production Process” category for innovation in wood marquetry. You also explore it in fashion. One of your pieces will be presented at Maison d’Exceptions …
Yes, it’s a coat embroidered from 527 pieces of laser-cut wood cut. The idea is to make professionals more aware of what one can do in terms of infinitely thin and infinitely exceptional work using a laser when one is really familiar with certain textile and hard materials. I make lace using wood veneer, always based on a thorough and totally new exploration. I work wood as a material for inlay, over-embroidery, or accessorisation. Fashion is nowhere near done exploring the potential of wood!
What are other potential applications of your laser cutting?
Anything that can be made from a fabric, because my laser-cutting technique makes it possible to create flexible surfaces based on the assembly of small parts: inserts of cut materials for clothing, small leather goods or jewellery, as well as materials that have been transformed and incised in a complex way to use as tassels or sequins. I remain an artisanal workshop and do not currently have the capacity to produce thousands of pieces, unless they are small. As a matter of principle, I can explore the possibilities of any material.
Interview by Stéphanie Bui, founder and editor @The Daily Couture.com
PLEASE NOTE : Maison d’Exceptions is exclusively for the men’s and women’s luxury market – apparel, leather goods, footwearn and jewellery.
In order to guarantee optimal working conditions for the ateliers and visitors at the show, Première Vision reserves the right to limit access to the space.