The French word for decorative trimmings; as this ancient French craft is as much reputed for excellence now as it ever was, the word stays in common parlance. The 16thC, Paris based passementerie guild created the opulent trimmings for Versailles, and still exists as Les Passementiers d’Îsle de France.
* Even the simplest ric-rac braid, hessian tie back or a collection of coloured ribbons is, in effect, passementerie. At one end of the scale passementerie can be simple, elegant, self coloured and discreet, or at the other end of almost inconceivable opulence with a single item requiring months and even years to make.
* The intricacies of passementerie are manifold, but fall generally into these categories: gimp, braid, tassels, tie backs, fringes, with bullions and cut edges, fan edging and giroline in silk, linen, cotton and wool…
* Contemporary passementerie makers produce really interesting work, using new elements such as shell, beads, glass, Perspex…in innovative ways but always based on traditional forms and methods, both to commission and in small collections available to interior designers.