The kings’ cloth: How one of Lyon’s oldest silk manufacturers lives up tradition and drives innovation
Whether in the palaces of Versailles, Compiègne, Fontainebleau or in the Louvre: Prelle’s magnificent silk fabrics still adorn the rooms of numerous state palaces. The manufactory is the only family-owned company of its kind that designs and produces exclusively in France.
The history of this traditional company in Lyon dates back to the 18th century. Thanks to the Prelle and Verzier families, both Canuts, the art of silk weaving lives on today. For more than a century, the family workshop has been located in the same premises in Lyon, the former centre of the French silk craft. Today, meaningful pieces of history are brought back to life there beneath the fingers of Guillaume Verzier. In addition to producing fabrics following old patterns as they used to be found in royal residences and palaces, the manufactory has also increasingly taken over restoration works in recent years. These demand above all an instinctively sensitive touch, dexterity and skill: In the King's bedroom at Versailles, it took 23 years to restore the silk fabrics with gold threads. As one of two out of formerly 400 remaining silk weavers in Lyon, Mr. Verzier emphasises: "It is both an honour and a privilege. It is a unique know-how.”
Traditions over generations
For more than two centuries, the strength of the manufactory has been its "cabinet des dessins", a treasure trove of drawings. This tradition of always establishing a partnership between silk weaver and designer still characterises the company's profile today. The combined competencies allow the Prelle Manufactory to offer a very close collaboration to creative people, architects, decorators and designers. As an ambassador of luxury and refinement “à la française”, the prestigious weaving mill is proud to continue the history of the silk manufacturing tradition in Lyon for customers in search of the extraordinary.
Weaving silk threads on P2 rapier weaving machines from DORNIER
Guillaume Verzier in the fifth and his daughter Sabine Verzier in the sixth generation of the Prelle family carry on the traditions of their ancestors and at the same time drive innovation. Numerous technical developments, such as the installation of DORNIER weaving machines in Jacquard version, are intended to expand the possibilities and flexibility of the manufactory. The replication of the cultural heritage succeeds, among other things, with the P2 rapier weaving machine delivered to Prelle for the first time in 2020. In addition to the unrivalled DORNIER SyncroDrive® drive concept, the latest, more compact machine generation is characterized by an increase in productivity achieved through an improved shed geometry, optimized positive-controlled central transfer and the patented colour selector and feeding system (DisCoS®), which allows up to 16 colours to be processed even more efficiently.
Prelle and DORNIER interweave these values in a very special way: tradition and quality. We look forward to many more years of partnership and cooperation.