Monday, December 19, 2016


Rita Scaglia Photography - Hermès Journal A/W 2007 - No51

Sabre. The word evokes all the panache of a cavalry charge, the dash of a sword beheading a champagne bottle. The sabreuse, though, is a woman, and her gestures are gentle. Her weapon, a fine knife that she hones as she pleases on a whetstone or barber's strop, does not kill but brings to life. Imagine a lawnmower that raised a blanket of moss when it rolled over the grass, a ploughshare that plumped up a field of soft wheat, or a coiffeur's razor that conjured forth a cushiony crew-cut on a bald pate. For what the sabre makes is velvet. Hand-cut. 

Laid out on a table, impeccably taut, level with her eyes is a square of duchesse satin; silk at its softest and most refined. The sabreuse makes resolute, regular, meticulous movements with her blade. Resting against the pad of her thumb, its tip slides through the fibres on the surface, lifts, cuts and separates them, makes them bloom and stand. Thus the satin's float stitch acquires the nap of velvet. Guided by the caress and murmur of plain surface. In this three-dimensional painting there can be no pentimenti: were she to go back, the already-cut threads would sit up again. The sabreuse adds a final flourish to her handiwork on a table heated to 75°C by stroking it one last time with a boar-hair brush, against the pile. In her looking-glass world, cutting carves a permanent thickness, and to wound is to beautify. 

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