July 2, 2021

At the invitation of the FCHM, Laurence Benaïm*’s daily appointment, during the Haute Couture week, around a chronicle on the hands.

It is “the instrument of instruments” according to Aristotle. For Ronsard “it does everything”. The hand draws the gesture, and from the gesture arises the dress. The hand is sovereign, it cuts and caresses, it sews by “dying”, to reduce or widen a seam, a clip. She builds with large stitches and notches, she stitches, she unclutches and gathers, she knows with her fingertips the fabrics that mark and those that melt under the iron. She is the boss. She is strong and fragile, she matures and gets hurt. The hand silently celebrates the craft, the agility, the links that unite the eye and the hand, and that make Paris the capital of haute couture and haute joaillerie… I have always been obsessed with hands. I collect them, and I, who am so clumsy, feel a real fascination for them. The hands are those of my grandfather, a hatmaker, whom I see in his workshop, standing in his white coat, cutting out triangles to assemble his caps. The hands replace the words. They speak in silence. And that is why I will try to tell them here, not to extract secrets from them, but to grasp, to evoke what from one palm to the other, traces singular paths. Now (gerund of manu tenere, to hold) and not tomorrow. In the name of creation, of the dreams that it makes visible. Of all that the “distant” has deprived us of. Of this luxury that pushes us to cross our fingers, hoping that everything will be fine. LB

*Journalist, writer, biographer of Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Michel Frank, Marie Laure de Noailles, and author of numerous works related to fashion culture.

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