Savoir-Faire

The Maison Michel ateliers are located in the north of Paris. There, every day, the hatters and milliners fashion new pieces according to a unique and precious savoir-faire carefully handed down from generation to generation for more than 80 years. In this exceptional space, expert hands move busily to the sounds of the steam bell, primping brushes, sewing machines and tapping hammers.

The life of a hat starts in the development studio with the creative momentum continuing in the millinery. There hats and head accessories are hand-crafted on some of the 3000 tilia wood blocks accumulated by the house over the years. This wood plays an important part in an exceptional heritage that’s constantly being enriched. It allows the most inventive creations and the endless renewal of classic designs. Once a hat has been shaped, the hatter sends it to the millinery atelier to be enhanced and embellished. The meticulously skillful milliners have mastered countless methods including stretching fabrics, draping turbans and the technique of sewing straw. Together they give each hat its singularity.

Around 15 artisans of different ages work together in the atelier. Some are freshly graduated, others have been at Maison Michel for more than 30 years and make it a point of honour to preserve and hand down the gestures and techniques they inherited. That special way to nail reeds onto the wood so the felt takes its shape. The secrets to fashioning a bibi hat. The finely honed method of spiral sewing two-tone straw with the famous Weismann machine, reintroduced into the workshops in the 1970s. The fruits of this breathtaking work take centre stage on the upper floors of the atelier, patiently waiting for a head to dress.