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Meet our Tutor: Stephanie Bonneau

Claire Barrett

The London Embroidery School would like to offer you the opportunity to meet our tutor, Stephanie Bonneau.  With many years of embroidery experience, on both sides of the channel, Stephanie has lots to offer her students.  We grabbed her after class to ask her a few questions on your behalf….

LES: Stephanie, can you tell us how you got into embroidery?

SB: I was always surrounded by embroidery. My mum did a lot of embroidery and lace and from a very early age I knew I wanted to learn. When it was time to find a career, we looked for some school and found the Lycee Gilles Jamain at Rochefort who specialize in Goldwork.


LES: And what is it about embroidery that interests you?

SB: I love the way that you can mix the materials and the different stitches/type of embroidery. With one design, you could make an indefinite number of embroideries and I love this variety.

LES: So you studied and worked in France and then came over here and still travel back and forth for projects; how do French and English embroidery differ from each other in you opinion?

SB: In Paris, the embroidery is all about the fashion world. The most of the designer use embroideries in their shows. I have found that some of them have no limits to how much they use embroidery and which materials they select. I have had the opportunity to use a lot of tambour beading for some world known designers such as Chanel, Christian Dior, Valentino, Giorgio Armani, Saint Laurent among others. 

London fashion houses are more restricted in their use of embroidery.  In London it’s often young designers who have a limited budget. It’s always challenging to work with them because we have to find a way to realize their ideas and make the garment beautiful with less means.

On the other hand, with the British Monarchy and the Queen, the use of traditional embroidery is still very strong
in England.  We use a lot of goldwork and monogramming.When I was Head embroiderer at Hand and Lock, I worked on a banner for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee with a lot of goldwork and also items for the 2012 Olympics games.

LES: Plenty of variety there, Do you have a specialism then?

SB: I do really like Couture embroidery/ tambour beading and Goldwork.

LES: Where do you go and what do you find inspiring?

SB: I love looking around for new ideas. I would say follow the new trend and go to some exhibitions.

LES: Is there someone who is your biggest inspiration?

SB: I love the designer John Galliano, for me he is one of the best designers of all time.

LES: Along with practising embroidery, how did you get into teaching?

SB: What I really like about teaching is meet different people with very varied and interesting backgrounds. I love the way that people are interested and get enthusiastic when I show them little tricks of the trade.

LES: What advice would you give to people looking to get into embroidery?

SB: To be an embroiderer you need a lot of patience and you must naturally be a perfectionist.

LES:And finally, do you have any other hobbies?

SB: I love drawing and travelling.


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