Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Prints of Leonard Fashion

I recently listed this stunning vintage 70s panné velvet dress by Leonard Fashion on my website. While perusing my vintage magazine collection, ads for the company have been catching my eye ever since. The other day, I came across an article about the company in a 1973 magazine and I had to share a bit of it with you.

The textile firm of Jacques Leonard et Cie was founded in 1954. In 1958, the company decided to launch a fashion line and Daniel Tribouillard was made Chief Executive Director. Tribouillard invented a new printing process in 1960. He patented this technique which allowed for a knit fabric to be continuously printed, and that technique is still used today.

Each season, the team at Leonard reviews about 5000 designs which are presented by the artists and print designers. Of those, only about 200 make the cut for final review.

After carefully examining the designs for their ability to be engraved and their commercial viability, those designs are further reduced to about 100 per season. For every design, a photoengraver separates the various areas of the print, each of which will be engraved into a separate frame for the printing process.

Here, a printer uses a frame to hand silk screen the design onto silk jersey, the fabric most often used by Leonard. The fabric will be screened several times as each color is applied individually.

This woman is examining the final printed fabric for flaws. You'll notice there is no Leonard signature in this fabric. This is not uncommon in Leonard prints from the early 70s.

Leonard ad, 1971

After the fabric prints are complete, the garments are then imagined and designed, based upon the prints.

Leonard ad, 1972

In 1987, Tribouillard bought the company and became Chairman. He remained the head designer until the Fall of 2001. The Leonard Company is still alive and well today, with over 100 stores worldwide. Veronique LeRoy is the current head designer of the firm.

Leonard ad, 1973

Please note: Biographical information about Leonard Fashion is copyright of Couture Allure and may not be copied without permission.