Vicky Rowe gowns are created using couture bead embroidery. Traditionally called tambour or Luneville beading, couture bead embroidery is a very ancient art. As early as the 16th century embroideries were being imported from India by The East Indian company and Persia to places like England and France.
The name ‘Tambour’ comes from the drum shaped frame originally used and still used for finishing Vicky Rowe gowns today- ‘tambour’ is the french word for drum.
The French were especially fond of this work and In 1770, Charles St Aubin, Embroiderer to the French Court, wrote about this new technique he called ‘La Broderie en Chainette et au Tambour’, tambour uses a hooked needle-a small variation of a crochet hook-to create a chain stitch. Tambour became a fashionable recreation for European Society ladies too in the late 1700’s, another technique of the ‘gentle arts’ to display feminine hands and virtues to calling admirers.
In the 1920’s tambour became very fashionable on the gorgeous flapper dresses of that time but this was short lived with the outbreak of the Great Wars and the Great Depression in America.
The craft has survived, just, only in a handful of Ateliers across the world where they mostly do sampling and and of course, native craftsmen. This intricate work is still done the same way today as it was in the 1600’s. The fabric is stretched and laced or sewn on a rectangular frame or in a circular frame. A tambour hook makes one stitch, the chain stitch. The hook is held on top of the frame with the threaded beads or sequins underneath.
The techniques used on Vicky Rowe gowns are the same techniques used by all the great couture houses of Europe – Dior, Givenchy, Chanel, Valentino, Schiaparelli and Versace to name just a few, instead she works directly with the craftsmen. Its an exciting way to work and something which combines Vicky’s passion for the craft, love of travel and India.