PARIS — “He has gone to embroider the wings of angels,” Father Christian Lancrey-Javal said at the packed funeral for François Lesage at the Eglise Saint-Roch here.
This story first appeared in the December 8, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
A celebration of Lesage’s life and achievements, the service captured the embroiderer’s joie de vivre, generosity and majestic artistic legacy. Lesage died Nov. 30 at age 82.
“His talent,” continued Lancrey-Javal, “was being able to enter into a designer’s universe. With Yves Saint Laurent, he was Yves Saint Laurent; with Christian Dior, he was Dior; with God, he will be God.”
Among those attending the service were Christian Lacroix, Azzedine Alaïa, Bruno Frisoni, Isabel Marant, Inès de la Fressange, Anne Valérie Hash and Christian Louboutin.
Lesage loved white flowers. The church resembled a garden of them, from giant wreaths of white roses to vase after vase of white lilies and orchids.
Reminding the audience that there were two Lesages, the embroiderer and the family man, Lesage’s grandchildren took to the stage together to pay homage.
Recalling vacations spent with Lesage at the family’s home in Corsica, one of his grandsons, Benjamin, speaking of his grandfather’s night-owl nature, said: “It’s 5 a.m., I’ve just come back home and there’s granddad, playing on the PlayStation, with a glass of whiskey in hand and a cigar.”
The service’s program had a photo of Lesage in his atelier on its front cover, and on the back, a shot of him sitting at a garden table wearing a denim shirt, a daisy in his mouth.
Lesage’s son, Jean-Louis, read out the acceptance speech Lesage had written, but never got to read, for when he was awarded the honorary distinction of Maître d’Art two weeks ago by the French Ministry of Culture.
Filing out of the church following the ceremony, Louboutin, who said he knew Lesage well, said: “It’s very sad, but he had a wonderful life. He was an incredible embroiderer. I knew his work from what he did for Roger Vivier, as well. He really was an extraordinary person who kept on working right up to the end.”
Jean-Louis Scherrer, tears streaming down his cheeks, said: “We worked for years together. He was genius, a real artist.…It’s a huge loss. That’s what really pains me so much about all these funerals, it really is the death of a great artist and the end of an era.”