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the linen book


the linen book



materials timeline










Be Linen Movie 1 Intimacy



Be Linen Movie 2




linen community



Linen orgy


LINEN MATTERS AND SAMPLES LEFT PAGE: Preparing the soil and sowing, Normandie, France. Photo Š Vincent Lappartient




The thread of words At the root of the French words linge and lingerie, "lin" reveals much in comparison to other textile fibres. Highly lexical, it has spawned many words or expressions that often refer to its cultivation, starting with the flower which has given us linen blue and the subtly different linen grey, alluding to the fibre before retting.

"the linnet is the flax bird; the Latins decided on the name and called it linaria". Not to be confused with linière which denotes a flax field (1228) or with linier, one who produces or sells flax (1260).

say white as a sheet, but also to wear fine linen?

Cet homme marchait pur, loin des sentiers obliques,


Sur la luzerne en fleur assise,

(He wore white linen garments, and a pure heart on

(Sitting on the blooming lucern)

his sleeve)

Qui chante dès le frais matin ?

Et, toujours du côté des pauvres ruisselant,

(Who sings from the earliest morn?)

(He practised what he preached ; give sooner than

C’est la fille aux cheveux de lin,


(It is the girl with the flaxen hair)

Ses sacs de grains semblaient des fontaines

La belle aux lèvres de cerise.


(The beauty with cherry-red lips)

(Like public fountains ran his sacks of grain)

Evoking not only the very light blond of the girl’s hair but also its flax-like texture, Leconte de Lisle’s poem La fille aux cheveux de lin inspired Claude Debussy to write a prelude. In his work Esthétique de la langue française, the writer Remy de Gourmont (co-founder of the Mercure de France) wrote of the little sparrow fond of linseeds:

In Booz endormi (Sleeping Boaz) (La légende des siècles (The Legend of the Ages), 1859), the expression chosen by Victor Hugo appeals to the metaphorical analogy between the preparation of the fibre and human existence: raw, it embodies humility; spun and dazzlingly white, it illustrates social prestige and the nobility of the soul. Do we not also

"As I enter I notice a handsome young man, curly haired, linened, painted and powdered, it’s Lucien Daudet", remembers Jules Renard in his Journal

(He walked his way of life straight on and plain) Vêtu de probité candide et de lin blanc ;

In spite of the fact that the notions have been blurred, redoubled, and superimposed through time, the relative decline of the linguistic value of the word will henceforth be largely compensated for by the natural aspect of the fibre! Annie Mollard Desfour, Linguist at the CNRS

How many generations before have cultivated and used it – even for spiritual rituals –; have woven, developed, manufactured and explored it, reinventing it over and again, so that it remains both timeless and contemporary.

The material of dreams I've always been interested in the performance of textiles and their ability to be mixed with one another, linen – for its suppleness, lightness, durability, thermoregulatory qualities – stands out from other fibres and materials. In 2009, with the table and chairs in François Azambourg's Collection Lin 94, I discovered the existence of a linen composite whose touch I immediately loved, along with the visible texture of the fibre, and its solidity and flexibility in moulding. François belongs to the new generation of European designers in search of new materials, including composites, who don't hesitate to dive in and try things themselves, to develop a new experimental material compatible with the eco-friendly approach demanded today. This innovation impressed the

design world and I am pleased to follow the recent by Saint Luc Edition. When it comes to soft furnishings, I like linen for its ”slub” imperfection which, even when new, gives it a subtle trace of having lived. This makes it more accessible, just the opposite of those women who are so well dressed that they are intimidating, and unapproachable. I loved the way Paola Navone from Gervasoni used linen. Her couch and armless-chair covers – first white, then coloured – took me back to my grandmother's house where the furniture was covered in old linen sheets when the house was closed up for the summer. Paola's recent collections for Linteloo uses linen in different ways, sometimes embroidered, sometimes in intense colours.

Linen, a short word for a natural fibre that's so long, has such a multitude of uses and has served the human race so well. Its earliest traces go back nearly 38,000 years to a cave in Georgia, yet in today's world its small ecological footprint gives it inestimable value to our threatened planet.

When it comes to bed linen, I'll never forget a siesta in Sicily where, in the torpor of summer, I was deliciously surprised and won over by the coolness of the powderysoft sheets and the airy lightness of the curtains, all in linen. From that time on, throughout my professional and personal travels, my concern for detail includes the quality of the bedding. For me, real luxury is to lie in a bed with perfectly ironed linen sheets, like those of the Palacio de Setais in Sintra, that I still remember years later. Cristina Morozzi, Design Critic, Artistic Director at Skitsch

Much more than a fashion or a lifestyle, it has been an inspiration for an art de vivre that Europe has nurtured for over a millennium. Apart from the collective imagery associating linen with summer wardrobes, and trousseaux that are passed down through the generations, it keeps evolving, with perseverance and inspiration along the road of innovation. Clothing ourselves and our friends, linen also graces our beds, sofas, walls and windows. But were you expecting it in your car or surfboard, in cosmetics and high-tech products? Whether you're an architect, designer, engineer or researcher, this book invites you to discover the full potential and richness of flax and linen through testimonies delivered by multiple signatures belonging to various backgrounds. With your passion and talent you'll be able to write its next chapters within your daily life! Lionel Blaisse, Editor in Chief, "THE LINEN BOOK"



Etymology - Le Petit Robert (dictionnary) - This word comes from Latin linum (linen, thread) - lino in Italian and Spanish, lin in Occitan, linho in Portuguese, liho in Basque. It has cognate words in various Indo-European languages (linon in Greek, linen in English, Lein in German, lijn in Dutch, llon in Russian and lin in Irish [net]). Yet, as long as the cultivation history of this plant cannot be pieced together, the relationship between these words cannot be established.

The Latin adjective in the sense “made of flax” has given rise to two nouns: fil de lin [flax thread] resulting in ligne [line] (and ligner [mark with lines], lignée [descendants], lignage [lineage], lignard [linesman], interligne [line space], curviligne [curvilinear], longiligne [rangy], aligner [align], forligner [forfeit one’s honour], souligner [underline], surligner [highlight]”, and toile de lin [linen cloth] from which linge is derived [linen] (and also lingère [laundry woman], lingerie, lingette [wipe]). The French also inherited from Latin linceul [shroud], linéaire [linear], linéament, linéature [line screen], linoléum (linseed oil), alinéa [indent], collimation (generating collimateur [collimator]), ligneul [shoe-thread], rectiligne [rectilinear], délinéer [outline]. Crinoline comes from Italian étoffe de crin et de lin servant à faire bouffer les jupes [fabric made of horsehair and linen thread, used for billowing out skirts], a word borrowed by the German language (Krinoline). In French, linier, linon, linette (flax seeds of which linnets - a small passerine bird - are particularly fond), plant names such as linaire (pale flax) and linaigrette (cotton grass) derive from linen. The English language borrowed “line” from French (12th century, found in the words dragline, eye-liner, liner, hot-line, pipe-line, and sea-line, linotype or even bouline [bowline]), as well as “linnet” and “to align”. Italian borrowed lingerie (12th century) and alinea [indented line], Breton linset (sheet). Lignage was borrowed by a number of languages, for instance Italian with lignaggio, English lineage, llinatge in Catalan, linaje in Portuguese and lignez in Breton.

Photo © Sandro Miller, courtesy School Gallery, Olivier Castaing

"Theorizing on being and seeming; cultivating elegance and originality, both in language and in clothing, that's largely how I'd sum up my artistic approach. These choices set the tone for my recent stage direction of the play ‘Dangerous Liaisons', where the film actor that I am makes way not only for the theatre director but also for the costumes designer and textile collector, my other passions. I wanted these costumes unfinished like skeletons of clothing, almost all in linen, to get to the essential! linen whose soft and natural touch I am so sensitive to; that's automatically associated with the ‘Grand Tour’, those long educational trips that were a sort of rite of passage undertaken to round off the education of young humanists in the 18th century!" John Malkovich, Actor, Theatre Director, Première Vision Paris, February 2012.


CHRONOLINGIE BY vincent poinas

1 - LIBECO-LAGAE (BE) mechanical softening, 100% linen 2 - DELTRACON (BE) sheer 95% linen + 5% lurex 3 - VERILIN (BE) 75% linen + 25% golden lurex 4 - JOHN ENGLAND TEXTILES (GB) slubbed canvas 100% linen

1 - O.J. VAN MAELE (BE) repp weave 100% linen 2 - ITALTESSIL (IT) coated canvas 100% linen 3 - PB2C MODASTYLE (FR) sweat shirt fleece 100% linen CLUB MASTERS OF LINEN

1 - LIBECO-LAGAE (BE) mechanical softening, 100% linen 2 - SIULAS (LT) double weave 100% linen 3 - KLASIKINE TEKSTILE (LT) throw fabric 38% linen + 62% wool 4 - JOHN ENGLAND TEXTILES (GB) 100% linen & PVC outdoor coating

1 - SEIDRA (AT) 100% linen crease resistant finish 2 - DELTRACON (BE) silver coating 100% linen 3 - NELEN & DELBEKE (BE) chenille basket weave 67% linen + 33% cotton 4 - LAPUAN KANKURIT (FI) jacquard 100% linen CLUB MASTERS OF LINEN

1 - LIBECO-LAGAE (BE) mechanical softening, 100% linen 2 - F.LEITNER (AT) jacquard 100% linen 3 - PANNONFLAX TEXTIL (HU) basket weave 55% linen + 45% cotton 4 - MICHELE SOLBIATI SASIL (IT) shirting stripes 100% linen

1 - LIBECO-LAGAE (BE) mechanical softening, 100% linen 2 - ENRICO SIRONI (IT) deckchair canvas, linen & cotton 3 - DRIESSEN LEINEN (DE) jacquard 100% linen 4 - F.lli GRAZIANO fu SEVERINO (IT) jacquard 65% linen + 35% cotton CLUB MASTERS OF LINEN

1 - DELTRACON (BE) 100% linen outdoor finish 2 - MARTINELLI GINETTO (IT) satin weave 100% linen 3 - JOHN ENGLAND TEXTILES (GB) ribbed weave 100% linen 4 - ACTION MAILLE (FR) ribbed knit, linen & lycra 5 - DRIESSEN LEINEN (DE) jacquard, 100% linen

1 - LEMAITRE DEMEESTERE (FR) 100% linen 2 - KLASIKINE TEKSTILE (LI) printed 100% linen 3 - ITALTESSIL (IT) outdoor metallic coating, 85% linen + 15% PU 4 - F.LEITNER (AT) outdoor finish 100% linen CLUB MASTERS OF LINEN



MECHANICAL FLAX scutching & combing. Photo © Vincent Lappartient

Weaving flax yarn & linen fabrics. Photo © Vincent Lappartient


Photo Š Brigitte Bouillot




Dew retting (on ground): a natural process. Photo Š Bardinet

Outdoor linen fabric (Deltracon, Belgium). Photo Š Brigitte Bouillot




NATURAL connexion We are entering a 'biological century' where we will learn to work with nature rather than against it (as was the case in the last century). There are ways in which we can enhance the natural properties of materials such as flax though treatment, synthesis and adaptation, giving us the best of both worlds, that of a natural, beautiful material that has many of the properties of some of the more technical performance fabrics, and all in an annually renewable, compostable fiber! For this to happen, there needs to be a fostering of innovation between the producers, those developing the innovations for natural materials, and those who need these materials. Greater cross pollination is necessary, such that innovations that have been successful for specific industries need to be known by others so that those solutions can 'cross industries' and gain wider application and value. George M. Beylerian, Founder, Material ConneXion

— You want me to tell you what is the future of linen ? We live in a society that is dramatically black and white: good and bad, hero stuff, like cow-boys and indians, christians and muslims, etc… So everything that is male/female, black/white, old/young, or new, will then magically merge into something new. And when I thought about this, I thought that linen has a great opportunity to be a favourite to express those ideas, because linen can be a luxury and can be simplicity, linen can be masculine and can be feminine, linen can be old, crumpled and decayed, and can also be fresh and young and babyish… Linen can be ethnic, will always be ethnic, but can also be techno if we treat it in new ways. So, I believe that the linen fibre will have a great future, because it is embodying the contrasts of tomorrow that become one.” Li Edelkoort Trend Union, Amsterdam, 2001

— Flax and hemp crops have positive effects on the diversity of agricultural ecosystems and landscapes… and offer a welcome pause for the quality of the soil.” Commission’s report to the Council and the European Parliament, Brussels, 2008

Ecoresponsible Flax farming has a minimal environmental impact and requires no irrigation, only rainwater. Flax is a rotation crop that needs very few inputs, in addition carbon storage is as high as 3.7T/Ha per year. Therefore with 90,000 ha* under flax, as opposed to other crops, Europe avoids emitting 342,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases annually! There's no waste produced with flax, as every part of the plant is used; the long and short fibres, seeds and shive. *Calculations based on the average harvests for 2004/2011 in FR, BE and NL. Sources C.I.P.A.LIN (FR), A.B.V (BE), C.V (NL).

Illustration © Pam&Jenny – Nathalie Pollet



Photo Š Brigitte Bouillot



Transmission at the heart of luxury What relations does the Comité Colbert foster between the luxury sector and the transfer of know-how? Know-how and its transfer from generation to generation are the very foundations of the luxury industry. A living heritage that we nurture, either through essential on-going training of the artisans working for all our members, or by acquiring other highlyqualified businesses or workshops (as Chanel has done several times), or else by working with schools, to educate students about carriers in the luxury industry and to encourage them to become part of it. Our 75 businesses ensure that their workshop supervisors train and motivate those who will perpetuate their know-how - it’s a matter of survival! Where does linen fit into the goals of the Comité Colbert? Linen has written itself into the ambitions of the luxury industry regarding sustainable development (the protection and development of the sources of high-quality raw materials, and to protect and preserve knowledge), and of design, fashion, interiors, soft furnishings, and the contract sector (for example, luxury hotels are increasingly use linen sheets for the comfort and well being of their guests). A guarantee for the reputation of French luxury and lifestyle. Françoise Montenay, Chairman of the Comité Colbert

Flax Linen fields, Nord, France. Photo © Arvalis - Institut du Végétal




Egyptian linen chest. From Sheik Abd el-Qurna at Thebes, 1492-1473 BCE. © Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

Hygromorphic Shell, © Jane Scott 2012.

Weaving for eternity an idea of the importance of linen in the Egyptians' eyes.

"Put bussos* around her limbs, prepare her bed with royal linen and pay attention to the white linen of the lingerie." With these words a young man asked his servant to prepare his beloved and the room in which, shortly afterwards, their romantic encounter was to take place. In a poem, the young woman had indeed expressed the wish to bathe under his eyes so that he may discover her full beauty, enveloped in a royal linen tunic of superior quality. Alone, these few verses from the romantic poems of the Deir el-Medina vase give

Fragments of bussos cloth were found during excavations in the Faiyum region, in ruins dating back to 5,000 years BC. These testimonies to the past prove that the cultivation and lengthy processing of this plant to obtain the final product, linen, was already known at the time. From prehistory, flax was the most extensively used textile fibre in Ancient Egypt. It served to make clothes, as well as sails and nets for hunting and fishing. Various qualities existed. Egyptian bussos was so sought after that the name appeared repeatedly in the diplomatic correspondance of Tell el-Amarna (14th century BC). Many letters have been found in which the most powerful leaders of the Near East asked for - even demanded -


this cloth from the Nile Valley, reputed for its extreme fineness, to be sent to them. Flax played a key part in Egypt's internal economy since, like grain, it was used to remunerate the employees of the state and the temples. Flax farming was considered to be one of the main agricultural activities, and many paintings showing the main stages of its production are found on the walls of Egyptian tombs. In these scenes, often inspired by Chapter 110 of the Book of the Dead, it was the dead person, sometimes accompanied by his spouse, who personally took care of the ploughing, sowing and harvesting of the plants. Francesco Tiradritti, Director of the Italian archaeological mission at Luxor

* Cited in the Greek New Testament but of Hebraic origin, bussos or byssus denoted a variety of flax and, by extension, of the cloth woven from it. It was very delicate, soft, white or yellow, and therefore very expensive. “Peasant couple harvesting". Wall painting in the vaulted tomb chamber of Sennedjem (No. 1), 18th Dynasty), cemetery of Deir el-Medina. Tombs of Nobles, Luxor-Thebes, Egypt.

A model fibre The Textile Futures Research Centre that I manage aims at investigating future textiles with a focus on sustainability. We are interested in exploring new and future technologies as much as we are keen to develop new applications for existing fibres, and linen is one of them. Linen is one of the oldest fibres used to produce textiles, and as such it belongs inherently to our cultural capital. What amazes me most is its capacity to survive millenniums and to remain as contemporary today as it was 2000 years ago. I doubt very much that the new high-tech fibres we are producing today will still remain in use in 1000 years from now. So when I think about it, I believe linen is one of the most resilient fibre, each civilisation has adapted its use and developed new applications. Linen’s ecological credential has also become an

asset for the future of the linen industry and the recent innovations in the field of linen composites for the automotive and sports industries show how much linen can be reinvented again and again. An example of the creative potential of linen is showcased here in the work of one of my PhD students, Jane Scott, who is exploring ways to engineer smart behaviours into natural fabric. It is fascinating to work with materials like linen that can be re-contextualised and redefined over millenniums. If we had to invent a new natural fibre now, it should be linen, a fibre which can carry us into the future without a doubt.

— More than an institution, the Flax Museum of Belgium aims to become a permanent platform service to the international flax community, to gather, preserve, research, share and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of flax in the Leie region. The Museum will open to the public in the Spring of 2014. ” Lies Buyse, Conservator, Vlasmuseum, Kortrijk

Carole Collet, Reader & Deputy Director, Textile Futures Research Centre (TFRC), Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London

"Hygromorphic Shell is constructed from linen yarn, with birch veneer embedded into pockets of superfine wool. It transforms from a flat fabric into a three-dimensional shell in the presence of water and returns to a flat form with gentle manipulation. Watching the Hygromophic Shell slowly curl and twist into its three dimensional form illustrates how the use natural, sustainable and low impact materials could redefine the notion of smart materials for textiles." (Jane Scott February 2012)


The art of setting a table The history of table art reflects a process of civilization, which is probably why it's been one of the favourite subjects of many painters. As artists often dressed their historical figures in a style reflecting their own times, the pictorial representations of the Last Supper or banquets in antiquity tell us about the practices of those times. For example, the 6th century fresco on the walls of the Saint Apollinaris of Ravenna church, relating the Last Supper of Christ, shows him with his apostles reclining, as in history around a table covered with a white cloth. So we have evidence that tablecloths existed at least from the early Middle Ages. The Book of Wisdom, Siracide (200 BCE), speaks of good table customs that became the "table manners" of medieval times.

For many centuries, only monasteries had a refectory, a place devoted exclusively to dining. Even in the most beautiful castles of the period, the table was "set" in the main common room, and close to the hearth in winter. Consisting of simple planks laid on trestles, "the mobile table – an object devoid of any value – had for this very reason to be covered with a spotless cloth hanging down to the floor and which, at the end of the banquet, resembled a bloody battlefield". Otherwise people ate in twos, sharing wooden trays, platters or cutting boards from which they ate directly, using thick slices of bread to mop up the sauce. "At the end of the Middle Ages, linen was still an expensive luxury. Even if some peasants owned a tablecloth, it was not in daily use. Wealthy city-dwellers had hemp

"Banquet at the palace of King Yon" David Aubert, 1462 – Arsenal Library, Paris. © Bibliothèque nationale de France

cloths for everyday use, and linen ones for festive occasions, sometimes with woven or embroidered designs. City-dwellers of more modest means, on the other hand, contented themselves with a napkin to protect the small cabinet that served as a table, and to wipe their hands on, as the wealthy did on tablecloths for special occasions." In 1664, young officers of the landgraviate of Alsace were still requested not to blow their noses on the tablecloth! Quotes from L’Histoire de l’Alimentation (1996) edited by Jean-Louis Flandrin and Massimo Montanari

"Diner outside". Photo © Gia Canali




From father to daughter: the fabric of a good chef The idea of "inheritance" is really close to my heart since it was absent at the beginning of my career, because of my father's premature death. While I owe it to him for developing my taste during my childhood and adolescence, I was taught the trade by the chefs that he trained. Without being overwhelmed by the reputation and legacy of my father and grandfather, I was critical of my own cooking from an early stage (which is so necessary to make progress). I wanted to ensure the continuation of the prestigious business they'd left me. In 2008, once my own style had really developed, I felt that I had something to transmit to others. This led to the birth of my first book and the cookery school that makes it possible to preserve the essence of this know-how acquired over the years. Marked by continuity and its distinctive nature, the art of setting a table creates an invisible thread linking the past to today's constantly evolving cuisine. Like the decor, it can't be separated from what is on the plate. Along with the many artisans working there, the cooks share their sense of beauty and excellence of their respective expertise. As I love the feel of linen on my skin, I very soon made it a "must" for our tablecloths and napkins. Its fineness and starchiness – which give it form and it folds easily – can only appeal to a chef who is profoundly sensitive to textures! Anne-Sophie Pic, Chef at the Maison Pic, Valence, France.

— For a long time linen has held a place of honour in the Lifestyle and Fashion departments at La Rinascente, not only for its aesthetic qualities but mainly for its practical properties (absorbent and comfortable). It is particularly valued for bed linen, table linen and bath towels, both pure and mixed. As a highly stable textile, linen fabrics don't lose their shape during use or after many washes or dry-cleaning. The fluidity and drape of linen make it a must in the worlds of tableware, homeware and clothing.” Gilles Massé, La Rinascente

IMMOVABLE The only vegetable textile fibre originating on the continent, linen is a European speciality. A local speciality, parexcellence, flax fields are found mainly in an area stretching in France, from Normandie to Nord, into Belgium and the Netherlands. With 85% of the world's scutched flax fibres, Europe is the leading producer. A naturally humid oceanic climate, loamy soil and generations of experience shield Europe from the relocation of its flax farming and scutching of the flax fibres: a situation guaranteeing quality, productivity and natural products! "Attached to the land but open to the world" is the main theme running through the history of flax and linen in Europe, where the hands of man – those of the farmers and scutchers – work in harmony.

Table runner with 3D print, silvery seersucker Deltracon effect / Table runner with linen-metal weave, Charvet Editions / Raw linen towel, Libeco Home. Photo © Sylvain Thomas


Photo Š Brigitte Bouillot




The self-regulating fibre Flax fibres are known for their capacity to absorb water, a property that stems from the highly hydrophilic nature of pectins, the compounds that binds the fibre together. The pectins present in linen textiles is what makes them so "alive" and thermo-regulating. They absorb or release up to 20% of their weight in water, depending on the temperature and humidity, without feeling damp. This guarantees a feeling of well-being! The formation of the flax fibers occurs throughout the plant’s growing phase: a 100 days during which its development is influenced by its agricultural conditions. The fibers, which run the entire length of the stem are formed into bundles - there are 20 to 40 per plant each consisting of 20 to 40 flax fibers. François Bert, ARVALIS - Institut du Végétal

Cross-section of flax stem, microscope. Photo © I.N.R.A. (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique)

Bed = Linen


I live in linen six months of the year and sleep in it every night. The touch and consistency of this fabric exudes naturalness. I love its authentic and healthy aspect. It's easy to care for, even though it creases… but with such elegance! For a long time I dreamt of opening the first luxury hotel in Paris that gave its guests linen sheets. For me this is the height of luxury and comfort for any demanding sleeper. I especially like the fine and refreshing touch of this material whose fibres close-up when it's washed so that it softens with age. As it can be boiled and withstands stain-removers and disinfectants, it meets the hygiene standards for hotel bed linen. Unable to find rental linen sheets in the Paris area, we had to buy four complete sets of fitted sheets, top sheets and pillow cases for each of our 57 rooms. The next challenge was finding a laundry that would wash them. Today that service provider has no regrets! Real luxury in a hotel means real comfort. None of our choices has been neutral, starting with that of the Maison Martin Margiela for the decor. Our aim was to have rooms that are "zen", even monastic, where the best of the indispensable has replaced the superfluous!

An ecological niche Sleeping well means feeling refreshed when we wake up. It is important to sleep enough, at the right time of the day, and not shift too often between different phases of sleep and wakefulness. During a normal night, our sleep becomes progressively deeper, and our brain simplifies its activity. After a little more than an hour, we enter, for 15 - 20 minutes, the first phase of sleep with rapid eye movements (REM): our brain activity is similar to that observed in wakefulness (although we are, paradoxically, fast asleep), and we have no muscle activity. During this sleep stage, we are not very good at keeping our body temperature constant as the ambient temperature changes. Phases of sleep with and without rapid eye movements are repeated during the night, until we wake up.

Bernadette Chevallier, CEO of ODO, Operator of Maison Champs-Elysées

— Until the contract with Maison Champs-Elysées, our company laundered pure linen only for restaurants. Five months later, we signed a rental-maintenance contract with the Royal Monceau for its table and bed linen (embroidered pillow slips and duvet covers). These contracts required no change to our laundering


Maison Champs Elysées. Photo © Brigitte Bouillot

Until we are teenagers, we sleep through the whole night without any problem. After that, sleep becomes a precious and sometimes fragile function that is affected by the conditions around us. In order to sleep, we (and most animals) need to find an “ecological niche”, a place where sensory inputs are reduced and where we can sleep safely, and unaware of the world around us with all its perils. We sleep well in a quiet, comfortable, stable, and dimly lit

space. We do not sleep well when our body is actively, shivering or sweating, and trying to keep the right body temperature against the cold or hot environment. What we sleep in is very important, because bed linen and duvets/blankets create the nearest part of the “ecological niche” in which we sleep, and so helps our body to keep the right temperature. The feeling of skin wet from sweati is unpleasant and disturbs sleep. Linen, because it absorbs and sheds moisture rapidly, keeps our skin dry and so helps sleep. The pleasure of soft and smooth linen helps the feeling of wellbeing, a pre-condition for sleep. Linen, as a natural, non-allergenic fiber, can help sleep by preventing the body’s complex and disturbing reactions to allergenic substances. As with other instincts (hunger, sex), sleep has developed social and cultural values through the ages. Linen also brings to sleep its own historic, social and cultural values. Professor Luca Imeri, Centre for Sleep Research, University of Milan

process (even with an optical brightener), or the acquisition of any additional equipment. We simply had to reduce the speed of our ironing machines to obtain optimal pressure and without damaging the linen fibre which is particularly robust and resistant.”

care instruction

Philippe Bailly, Louvre Linge

For a noble and original fabric like linen, correct care is very important. Hand or machine-wash with a neutral detergent. For

— Linen belongs both to the past and present: it’s a valuable

whites, use oxygen-based products rather than bleach (as linen can go

material for the future. Clearly, linen meets the demands of

yellow if not rinsed immediately).

today’s consumers who are rejecting the excessive use of energy

The most resistant and natural of fabrics, white linen can be washed at 95°C,

and moving towards something more sustainable. Well-being is

and colours at 40°C or 60°C. Spinning on a low speed avoids creasing, drying

becoming a luxury, and sleep an essential ingredient for beauty

naturally or in a tumble drier, and ironing damp on the inside will all ensure

and good health; one that must be optimized ?

that the qualities of the long flax fibres are maintained without pilling or

So we want the ideal temperature, the perfect pillows and

losing their shape. In fact linen will even improve and soften with age and

sheets. As both the original model and a positive symbol for the

washing. Many linen-based anti-static soft furnishings can be vacuumed

future, linen is the new value haven of sleep.”

or dry-cleaned. And – revolutionary! – pre-washed linen needs

Vincent Grégoire, Agence NellyRodi

no ironing! Photo © Brigitte Bouillot



Photo Š Brigitte Bouillot



Flax combed. Photo © Brigitte Bouillot

Bath towels 100% linen & linen/cotton: SIULAS (LT), TEIXIDORS (SP), F.LEITNER (AT). Photo © Brigitte Bouillot




Linen, the cosmetic fibre The warp and weft, the flesh and the breeze: A trail of linen In perfumery, linen gives substance to imaginings of freshness, serving as a sensorial thread – between top notes and base notes – that leads to an idea of freshness, healthy and fulfilling, both sexy and illuminating. Throughout, these evocative notes will be linked together; lively, clear notes –as those of the famous hedione®, citrusy, floral , very transparent and very light, made famous by Edmond Roudnitska in Eau Sauvage, Eau Fraîche and Diorella – and then, the woods "distinctive" whites, like ambrox®, a white rock-rose, which conjures up the dry heat of the scrubland, a very ‘outdoor’ note, very mixed, or the Iso E, a hint of white, beige, soft and clean. It finishes on more ‘skin’ notes, more amber-based like Cashmeran. These more ‘horizontal’ notes, a little ‘strong’ to begin with, will become more or mellow and individual as they warm up on contact with the skin. Like the fibre, they will envelop the skin but without a sugary, ‘sticky’ sensation. Americans are avid enthusiasts of abstract treatments of linen, resulting in a tradition of superb examples of ‘New England’ freshness: an Atlantic light a la Hopper, a walk to the lighthouse, the fluttering of white linen against a background of blue


"Le printemps, l’été au champ de lin", Mylène Boisvert, Homemade/Handmade. B.I.L.P Portneuf, Québec. Photo © Charly Desoubry, Studio Woaks

Water-repellent linen shower curtain, AGAPE ( IT). Photo © All rights reserved

and an end-of-post-grad summer… Linen seems to encapsulate all of these images and chic outdoor brands such as Polo and Hartford; whereas Victoire (in France) or Richard (in Brazil) limitlessly refine its crumpled freshness. "Breezy" feelings of great delicacy, a radiant fullness, a refined finish, sensual but modest, very preppy, it's the secret of a creation that has not aged one bit – that of the magnificent White Linen by Estée Lauder (1978): a great bouquet of dried

flowers, very open, very volatile and as luxurious and refreshing (or reinvigorating) as a week in the Hamptons. Hélène Capgras, Founder of Brain for Beauty, Martine Leherpeur Conseil

— Vegetal or animal? Plant or organic structure? The first time I held flax in my hand I was totally amazed. This naturally heavy, fleshy, luminous fibre, with its blue-grey tones – that I was told had been 'combed' – I remember above all its sensuality. A vocabulary that is familiar to me ! Truly an accessory for beauty enhanced with its combination of strength, naturalness and feminity. This fabric would even inspire me for linen wigs!” John Nollet, Hair Designer

"A Favourite Custom", Sir Lawrence Alma-Tameda, 1909, Oil on wood. © Courtesy of the Tate Gallery, London



Lining in the rain Unlike hemp, which is traditionally used by upholsterers in the form of hessian for webbing and interfacing, linen cloth is used for finishing, under the final cover for which a wide choice of linens is also available. Their superb colours defy time - as can be seen in the centuries-old rolls of antique cloth sold in the market of Isle-sur-Sorgue. We use linen thread - durable, rot-proof and odour-free everywhere, especially for items exposed to humidity or rain (convertible car tops, outdoor furniture). As linen thread expands naturally when humid, the thread fills the gap made by the needle, thus creating a water-tight seal! When the CELC approached us, suggesting we develop new uses of this material for our business, we were immediately interested in waterproof linen. Highlighted touch and smell as being particularly important, we coated the back of the cloth and left the front to show off the linen look. The perfect waterproof mix of the cloth/thread combination enabled us to use the fabulous range of fillings available to optimize the comfort of our seats, rather than limiting ourselves to the usual "outdoors" foam which is far less effective. For our first design we chose one of the three “Pierre, Paul and Jacques” stools designed by Eric Jourdan, which is now set to become a prominent feature of bathrooms, spas, terraces and gardens. The French are not always aware that our heritage - apart from old buildings - lies as much in our noble ancestral textiles as in our craftwork. Being neither traditionalists nor sentimentalists, we are convinced that a fabric such as linen will inevitably lead us to innovation! Bruno Domeau, Domeau & Pérès Edition

ECO FinishING Linen puts the importance of ecological finishing at the centre of new exclusive developments: low-impact dyes, crease-free treatments, fabric softeners, enzymes washes, the use of new processes that save water and energy… a fabric that resolutely conforms to eco-responsible values and the GOTS and Oekotex labels. Pierre, Paul and Jacques stool, designed by Eric Jourdan, Domeau & Pérès Edition. Photo © Brigitte Bouillot


Photo Š AC Jallais





The rich tapestry of history After the Battle of Hastings (14 October 1066), the Duke of Normandy was crowned King of England, where he reigned for 21 years under the name William the Conqueror. Although legend has it that his wife, Queen Matilda, and her ladies embroidered the tapestry depicting this important military battle, historians are more inclined to see Odon – the new king's half-brother and Bishop of Bayeux – as the real commissioner of the "embroidery" that was intended for the nave of his future cathedral.

LINEN TROMPE-L'œil Inspired by the ornamental facades of the stone buildings on the Place Vendôme, Pierre Bonnefille designed a geometric play of layered colours and materials, jutting out from the existing 18th century woodwork. He chose a chromatic range close to the subtle tones of the stone, so that the materials vibrate according to the light. Depending on the angle of one's gaze, the eye discovers matt, satin or iridescent shades. To achieve this, Pierre Bonnefille developed a mixed technique on linen canvas, with direct application or by recreating his own mould.

Dated 1070, this narrative tapestry – 68.30 metres long and 50 cm high – consists of nine linen panels finely stitched together. Like stained-glass windows, it illustrated this epic story for the illiterate, and today is a valuable record of 11th century military and naval actions, architecture, and clothing. Exhibited in its home town, this highly durable linen canvas has survived the inevitable ravages of time.

Detail of the Bayeux Tapestry, 11th century © Bayeux Tapestry Museum. With special permission from the Town of Bayeux


Clifford Chance Lawyers, place Vendôme, Paris, design Pierre Bonnefille. Photo © Jacques Pépion



Linen colours ? Yes but in the plural ! This natural fibre has spawned other colour originals, starting with White whether from the "woven moonlight" of ancient Egypt – between the divine, death and seduction – or that of bed "linen". There is also the grey-beige – neither grey nor beige – of raw linen cloth, the essence of nature, the linen seed predominantly purplish; composed of white lead pigment, and a touch of Prussian blue Unlike the yellow flower of the Dyer’s Woad (Isatis Tinctoria) which gives a blue pigment, the blue of the flax flower begets a neutral colour. While the former – historically a natural pigment – is now combined with

innovative synthetic materials, should the latter – age-old and environment-friendly – not be dyed and adorned by technology, including dyeing? Why not fluorescent yellow to identify the workers maintaining our highways as well as giving them some extra thermal comfort? Linen is always in tune with current trends, from natural it'll soon become supernatural!

— Merci offers a global concept in phase with current lifestyles, where unostentatious




go hand in hand with values such as simplicity,




short, the essential! So it’s in this spirit that we’ve created our own collection of sheets, tablecloths, napkins and tea towels, made exclusively of linen, a natural, timeless and fresh material that we can

Olivier Guillemin, Chairman of the Comité Français

leave to live its life without crushing it

de la Couleur

under an iron, and with which we like to combine contrasting colours. Linen inspires new attitudes: a different way of making one’s bed, of rendering a sheet

— Linen, with its exceptional affinity, is a colourists favourite. It naturally assumes any role, lending itself to bright dynamic colours as well as it does to the dark and mysterious shades of our future trends. R&D is experimenting with new "cold" dyes specially suited to natural fibres: coloured pigments move on the surface of the threads or fabrics randomly, resulting in faded effects with vintage tones.

more noble, like a piece of fabric that falls

— Of course we don't consume reams so remarkably well, with refined colours of linen, but our range of linen lamp- and tones; some may use it as a curtain, a shades retailed by Le Bon Marché and tablecloth, a sofa cover, even a pareo. ” Printemps are really popular. Used alone Daniel Rozensztroch, Artistic Director at Merci or on PVC, linen appeals to people for its

fine qualities, naturalness, and effects (its — “Linen enhances the colour, the fibre and weave are revealed by the light stitch, the shape and the technique for behind it), as well as its color resistance passionate research and design” to artificial light.” Ottavia & Rosita Missoni Philippe Daucet, Maison Toussaint

Far from being limited, today's research into dyeing

is compatible with the

demands of sustainable development. Dye stuffs with the Gots and Oeko-Tex labels are perfectly in tune with the natural responsibility of linen.”


Ornella Bignami, President of Intercolor

Linen lends itself to diversity and blends easily with cotton, wool, silk, cashmere, lurex, polyester and viscose. The 100% linen version is a guarantee of true authenticity; blended with natural, artificial or synthetic fibres it takes on highly original looks, with different hands and new performance characteristics. Versatility synonymous with innovation thanks to the infinite variety of linen thread yarn … from gossamer voiles to velvets and soft comfortable knits. Luce dal Lino, Milano, 2009. Photo © Vincent Lappartient



I first became aware of the noble nature of linen in the eighties. My friend Paquita Paquin gave me a pair of her grandfather’s trousers from the thirties. They were in thick white linen and didn't crease like today's linen… The pleat of the trousers was stitched and gave them a very elegant cut; those were my Cocteau days. I wore them tied with a string, a sailor's T-shirt and espadrilles with laces. Linen is always linked to the memory of old sheets; I like the image that one gets a glimpse of in Visconti's films, where the servants use them to cover the furniture in the palace when the aristocrats go on a

The enchanted house tour. At one stage I used to do that at my own place when, tired of my decor, I wanted to change everything. To clear things in my mind, I'd make it all disappear under big white linen sheets, and then a friend and I even posed on them, like two ghosts for a surrealist tête-à-tête. When Pierre le Tan created two fabric designs for the Maison Darré, I instinctively chose a thick linen cloth as the base cloth. I wanted a relief effect, like a sheet of Canson paper, for Pierre's aquarelle illustrations. These two prints – Appearance and Disappearance – were highly successful. One of my friends, whose house I'd just

finished decorating, fell in love with them and made me redecorate his entire bedroom: the headboard in a Daliesque style, the bedspread and even the curtains in the Appearance design in powder-pink tones. If I had reams of unbleached linen I'd cover the entire Rue du Mont Thabor and I'd outline in paint a backdrop of Paris, like that of An American in Paris, where Gene Kelly dances against a backdrop of the Place de la Concorde. An extravagant technicolour fantasy inspired by Duffy. Vincent Darré, Maison Darré

— There's no Flamant collection without linen. Like the noble wood used for our furniture, linen exudes charm, unquestionable purity. A miracle of nature transformed by





that stand out for the quality of their materials. Linen is a product of our land, a gem Sofa Neowall, Living Divani collection, Piero Lissoni. © T.Sartori

of the economic history of Flanders, cherished from generation to generation. Like Belgian blue stone and natural oak, it is an ambassador of high-quality

— My experience with this historic fabric, linen, has made me aware that one can admire high-tech perfection but at the same time be charmed by hand-

craftsmanship. All of these values are dear to us.” Alex Flamant, Founder Flamant

— Linen is a superb fabric where creasing is only a minor inconvenience. Yet for

made imperfections. This sophisticated

each of us it brings to mind a flood of

European fabric hides its impeccable

memories, with its divine touch that's

credentials; the fabric inspired by

a bit rough yet powdery soft at the same

experience, a three-dimensional look and

time! This is a seductive material that one

the texture of the weave. Linen is 'carried'

can see is so alive - unlike cotton that's

by the designs for Living Divani, like the

inert - and warrants more technological

Neowall sofa, where its elegance becomes


an essential part of soft furnishings.” Piero Lissoni, Designer

Linen upholstered Louis XV wing chair, photo © AC Jallais

VITRA, Suita collection, design by Antonio Citterio, Olimpo fabric, 70% linen & 30% viscose.

François-Joseph Graf, Architect (Ariodante) "Grandes tablées ou tête-à-tête", special issue "Spécial recevoir", Maison Française, 2003. © Maison Française/Vincent Thibert/Catherine Synave



A shared partnership I didn't decide to become interested in linen; it was linen that, one "fine" day, invited itself into my life! It's important for us to cover our furniture "well"; with its natural touch and a finish that makes it both sophisticated and relaxed, linen immediately blended-in beautifully with my first sofas and armchairs in unconventional shapes, very different

A 100% linen rug, Az&mut. Photo Š Morgane Le Gall

to the usual stereotypes. The industry was delighted and its customers loved it. This acknowledgement encouraged me to use linen often, and the technical progress made with linen has also contributed to my own work evolving: aren't forms and surfaces two sides of the same coin? Since by nature I'm curious, I'm always keen to test something new, but I’m also demanding

Sofa Ghost, design by Paola Navone. Styling by Beatrice Rossetti. Photo Š Piero Gemelli.

when it comes to the results. My first commercial success with linen was in the Ghost collection for Gervasoni: I'd designed an over-sized couch cover in white linen, that was easy to remove and even easier to care for.

Paola Navone, Interior Designer


Photo Š AC Jallais





Alexander's breastplate Alexander the Great (256-323 BCE) has gone down in history as one of the greatest strategists the world has known. His armour, almost as famous as his horse Bucephalus, was made not of metal but of layers of laminated linen cloth (Pliny). This sort of protection was used by many warriors, all famous for their mobility on the battlefield. It was made of 11 to 20 layers of linen fused with a linseed oil-based bonding agent and then compressed during the drying process: the first composite material in history, with virtues similar to that of Kevlar®!


ARMOURING AUTOMOTIVE "Its lightness and its natural ability to absorb vibrations make European flax a technical partner of the automotive industry, especially when it comes to acoustics. This is perfect timing, as new European standards require car manufacturers to reduce the weight of their vehicles and their carbon footprint by 2015. A consistent weight, lightness and the strength of flax make it a highly competitive alternative to other fibres in many applications: interior trunk trims, door panels, flooring, and parcel shelves. As for its location, the fact that flax is grown on European soil is a truly logistic asset, because it’s the cost at the factory

Thanks to the strength, rigidity and the ability of flax fibres to absorb vibration, arrows were stopped by this extremely light material called linothorax. This revolutionary process came from the Etruscan port of Tarquinia where, in the 5th century BC linen canvases soaked in linseed oil and then left to harden as they dried, were sold to navigators as sails that could withstand the worst storms.

Alexander the Great Mosaic, Pompeii, VI, 12, 2, inv. 10020, photo © National Archaeological Museum, Naples.

gate that counts. An economic advantage combined with stability of the raw material price that maintains a steady supply." Arnaud Duval, Acoustics and Soft Trim Innovation, Faurecia.

Car door panel in flax composite, thermoformed non woven mat. Photo © Brigitte Bouillot



Flax composite furniture : Coffee table designed by Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance / Armchair designed by Jean-Marie Massaud / Chair designed by François Azambourg (Saint Luc Editions)

A timeless ally

Flax fiber spunlace non woven blinds (TDA Stores)

Flower pots, drape-forming of a multiaxial flax/PE fabric (Az&mut)

I've been recommending linen for over twenty years. It's soft and resilient, both romantic and contemporary. In fact it's got a life of its own. This ancient and classical fabric has become timeless: not only does it improve with age and use, it never goes out of fashion. Should we see linen as a material that's symbolic of Slow Design? Like Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, I think that a material is good when it's used wisely, whether natural or synthetic. Smartphone shell, in flax fiber/PA fabric (Fibershell)

In addition to its many qualities, users are rediscovering that the production and processing of this natural fibre are environment-friendly. That the finished products made from it are recyclable… So just trying it means loving it!

Mountain bike helmet in flax prepreg fabric with vinylester / PE (Urge Bike)

Indoor & outdoor lighting, drape-forming of a multiaxial flax/PE fabric (Az&mut)

What interests me personally is its potential for innovation, and researchers and designers are exploring this in composites. That's why I say that a new age is dawning for linen! Giulio Cappellini, Artistic Director of Poltrona Group

— Today's agriculture produces not only our food but also energy, as well as fibres like flax used to make some innovative and very

Racing sail boat, 50% of the hull with flax reinforced composite (Araldite) / Ski in multiaxial flax fiber with PUR matrix (Rossignol) / Tennis racket in flax, biosourced resin (Artengo)

high-tech products. Europe has to keep on inventing, to develop ever more innovative, quality products, and to promote the high added value of our goods, both on the continent and world-wide.” Dacian Ciolos, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development

— Natural fibres, another Darwin product! Flax fibres are 'natural polymers'! How do flax compares with glass and carbon fibres? In stiffness, they are equal to glass and about 1/3 of carbon, but when the density is taken into account, flax performs better than glass fibres. Furthermore, when looking at the specific stiffness in bending, the values of flax fibres approach those for carbon fibres.” Ignaas Verpoest, President of the European Scientific Commity of CELC

Car components with natural fiber composite (PSA) All photos ©All rights reserved

Wind energy in flax fabric commingled with a PLA matrix (LTP)



Linen in perspective Does real modernity not lie in how we see things, including things that are very old? In 2007, in the middle of the car industry crisis, Frédéric Morand - co-founder, with a parts manufacturer, of DCS* - asked me to think about a range of composite objects for the home. We agreed on the fact that the time was was right to develop composites using natural fibres and resins. In our respective research on all available plant fibres (cotton, hemp, nettle, etc.), flax was far ahead, with a mechanical resistance equivalent to that of glass fibre but twice as light! As our first experiment (a moulded car door) was conclusive, the striving for performance - in the good sense of the term - between material and form, became the main thrust of the project. Very naturally, we soon produced a chair. We wondered whether we could add a strip of lace immersed in its resin, as in cars. Exactly what influence might our work have on this industry, historically at the cutting edge of technological progress, along with aeronautics? As we worked, a kind of utopia emerged around this fibre, which is really exceptional - despite being age-old. Its capacity to adapt, identical to that of plastic, should make it possible to reconcile different places, worlds and modes of production in craftwork, industry, fashion, design, etc. *Design Composites Solutions François Azambourg, Designer-Researcher

Surfing on innovation The company Notox specializing in surf sports equipment, has developed more environment-friendly technical solutions. Apart from having to safeguard against personal injury when using these (polyurethane foam, polyester resin and fibreglass), producing a traditional 3kg surfboard generates 5.6kg of toxic waste that needs to be processed at specialized waste collection centres. Our research focused selecting materials with a better performance, that are more ethical as well as “fun”. So far we have been able to replace fibreglass with flax fibres – 30% lighter – in the form of two technically different weaves: one for the top of the board, where its elasticity supplies a remarkable resistance to compression, weight and impact; and the other, unidirectional, for the underside of the board, where it gives a near-instantaneous response to torsion, thus enabling the surfer to gain speed. We have also chosen a bio-sourced resin with a linseed and castor oil base and so reduced our use of petroleum-based products. Finally, we are using a substitute for polystyrene foam residues that is 100% recyclable. Owing to its unparalleled sports performance, our GreenOne® board, which weighs 500 grams less than traditional boards, and is more reactive, and immediately appeals to professionals and amateurs alike – in spite of a 40% price increase because of the raw material, cost, sophisticated manufacturing techniques, etc. Pierre Pomiers, CEO of Notox

Surf "Longfish". 6’10" x 21"1/2 x 2"5/8. Shaper: Benoît RAMEIX (COLORS). © Pierre Pomiers 2011 François Azambourg, Linen Matrix, Maison&Objet, 2010. Photo © Vincent Lappartient



LINOLEUM, Chic and resilient  ! Linoleum was invented by Frédéric Walton, who patented it in 1863. This floor covering is the product of an oxidation process, also invented by Walton, whereby linseed oil is turned into a flexible type of foam rubber. It is making a comeback today – in panels or tiles – in contemporary architecture where it has many enthusiasts, including some famous names. After the random patchwork of the Musée des Arts Premiers, Jean Nouvel has just covered all the office floors of the new Hotel de Ville in Montpellier in linoleum. Rudy Ricottin chose it for the renovation of the Grands Moulins de Paris, converted into teaching premises for the University of Paris VII. The agency Chaix & Morel are likewise using the material: How long have you been recommending Linoleum? Benoît Sigros*: I rediscovered Linoleum in the early nineties. After having post-war connotations for far too long, it had finally, thirty years later, revealed all its nobility. Natural, with that pleasant fragrance of linseed oil that it gives off after being laid down, like wooden floors, it is appealing to people once again for its resistance (to wear and tear), its tactile and acoustic comfort when one walks on it, and its matt aspect similar to that of skin – that some cleanliness-freaks insist on shining with wax (senseless, as far as I'm concerned!).

Hotel de Ville de Montpellier / Ateliers Jean Nouvel + François Fontès Architecture / ADAGP. Photo © Luc Boegly

In what types of architectural schemes do you recommend it? Benoît Sigros: We recommend it when we're asked for a soft floor that doesn't have to be carpeted. But there are situations where Linoleum excels, whether they are high-traffic or wet areas such as cafeterias and company restaurants – like the recent work at the head-office of the Banque Postale in Paris –, or teaching and research institutions like the physics department of the Paris Diderot University. Its natural and recyclable components give it an ecological stamp that's highly valued in the context of today's High Environmental Quality assessments. Moreover, huge efforts have been made with regard to design, affording architects a generous range of materials and colours.

* Partner in the architecture firm: Chaix & Morel et associés

Head-office of the Banque Postale in Paris. Architects: Chaix & Morel et Associés. Photo © Vincent Fillon


linen ORGY by François Delclaux PhotographeR: Sylvain Thomas LEFT PAGE : Intarsia knit, linen & silk, COUSY (BE) – napkin ALEXANDRE TURPAULT (FR) – tablecloth LIBECO HOME (BE) – Satin weave “Ambre” NOBILIS (FR) – honeycomb towel SIULAS (LT) – canvas VAN MAELE (BE) – Interior bench “Saint-Père”, fabric “Theia”, NOBILIS RIGHT PAGE : Foamy knit, linen, viscose & elastane, COUSY (BE) – Napkin, KLASIKINE (LT)


LEFT PAGE : Jacquard tablecloth, HOFFMANN LEINENWEBEREI (DE) – embroidered tablecloths, TESSILARTE (IT) –jacquard tablecloth, SALSAVERDE (HU) – chair, DOMINIQUE PICQUIER (FR) printed linen “Paris” – tubular knit, linen & wool JEAN RUIZ (FR) – black linen fabric “Lin Vigoureux”, DOMINIQUE KIEFFER (FR) RIGHT PAGE : Outdoor linen “City” ELITIS (FR)



LEFT PAGE: Tablecloth, SALSAVERDE (HU) - furnishing linen, C&C MILANO (IT) - outdoor basketweave, 100% linen, DELTRACON ( BE). RIGHT PAGE: napkins, duvet cover SALSAVERDE (HU) – linen armchair “Bond Street” Donghia, RUBELLI (IT).




— “The music room is on the first floor of the Arsenal Library, in Paris, in the wing built by Germain Boffrand at the beginning of the 18th century. Research undertaken during the renovations revealed the original colours, deep purple and celadon, in keeping with tastes at the time. An inventory discovered by chance, mentions the colours found and specifies 'linen grey'. These colours were carefully uncovered from beneath layers of paint that had been applied to the sculpted panelling, and were then restored to their original state. And so we see the delicate tones used in the mid-18th century.” Standing, left: crepe weave, PENTA S.T. (IT) – sitting, right: stretch white honeycomb, TESSITURA GALBIATI (IT) – laying, centre: dressed in linen & lurex voile, SALSAVERDE (HU) - trimming "Pigment", NOBILIS (FR) - fire-resistant linen, SOLBIATI (IT) – linen & leather weave, ITALTESSIL (IT) – silver jacquard, NELEN & DELBEKE (BE) - silver linen cushion, MAISON DE VACANCES (FR) 3D printed table runner DELTRACON (BE) - cushion, outdoor linen F.LEITNER (AT) - cushion, outdoor coated linen ITALTESSIL (IT) - trimmings, DELTRACON (BE)

Jean-François Lagneau, Head Architect at the Monuments Historiques


THE LINEN BOOK “Flax refers us back to nature, to purity and the idea of love. No other fibre is so candid” Elio Fiorucci, stylist

“Linen is the only 'eco-emotional' material that provokes when touched ans stirs emotions and creativity.” Teresa Sapey, designer

“Linen is the unavoidable expression of a new contemporary approach related to nature and the environment”

Chronolingie Vincent Poinas, Artistic Direction & Illustration 3D

“The tissues constituting flax have properties that no other material has: thermal and sound isolation, light weight, etc.”

Linen Orgy François Delclaux, Artistic Direction & Stylism Un Nouvel Air Assisted by Nicolas Gaillon Sylvain Thomas, Photographer Models: Lucie, Maël, Alexis and Nicolas

“I find that it’s an intelligent material with regard to current needs.” Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance, designer

“With linen, there is no problem with ‘over-heating’, sweating or itchiness” Satoshi Ishii (Vlas Blomme founder), Yoriko Sakaruma (designer)

“Linen socks are a must for our feet.”

ORIGINAL VISUALS FOR The Linen Book Brigitte Bouillot, Photographer

“Because its simple and unobtrusive, linen thread is the essential friend of leather.” Isabelle Arnadi, Hermès

“In traditional or very contemporary interiors, linen beautifully blends sustainability and luxury.” Liz Cann, design director, Morris & Co

“I'm awed by the fact that this plant, which links together Egypt, Greece and the Roman Empire, and serves to establish communication between the different parts of the World, is produced by such a small seed, has the appearance of such a fine stalk, and grows no higher above the ground…” Pliny

Lamp, design Christien Meindertsma for Thomas Eyck

Artistic Direction The Linen Book Les forgerons: Agnès Hospitalier & Christophe Jallais Drawings: Abel Jallais European flax life Nathalie Pollet, Pam&Jenny

John Lobb

Kelly Hopen, interior designer

editorial committee Alain Camilleri, Communication Director CELC Masters of Linen Véronique Thouvenin, Thouvenin & Véronique conseil Editorial design & coordination Lionel Blaisse, Editor in chief Frédéric Pellerin, Consultant, RAC

Aurélie Mathigot, artist

Davy Duriatti, Groupe Depestele

“If you start with linen as your first choice of fabric, building on its texture with complimentary or contrasting fabrics the result is sumptuously tactile which is exactly how you want your home to feel.”

Publication director Marie-Emmanuelle Belzung Secretary General Confédération Européenne du Lin et du Chanvre (CELC Masters of Linen)

“With linen I wanted to make even more beautiful and moving things… and nowadays there's a very real commercial interest” Christophe Pillet, designer

“Linen is for to the designer what marble is to the sculptor, a aristocratic material.” Christian Dior

Be Linen Movies 1 et 2 Benoit Millot, movie director Thibault Martin, Producer - Goodideas Coordination Villadalésia & Co TECHNICAL Direction Vision Prod’ Italian TRANSLATION Gedev / with Ornella Bignami ENGLISH TRANSLATION Liz Carey-Libbrecht with Susie McHugh, Sue Spencer

PRINTER UTIM Imprimeur Paper: Olin regular extra blanc Cover: Silver printed linen, LIBECO-LAGAE Typography AW CONQUEROR, 2009 copyright © by Jean-François Porchez, Typofonderie. All rights reserved. Distributed exclusively by Arjowiggings

under licence from Typofonderie. Any distribution to a third party is prohibited. Names are trademark in some cases. Contributors François Azambourg, Philippe Bailly, François Bert, George M. Beylerian, Pierre Bonnefille, Lies Buyse, Hélène Capgras, Giulio Cappellini, Bernadette Chevallier, Dacian Ciolos, Carole Collet, Vincent Darré, Philippe Daucet, Bruno Domeau, Arnaud Duval, Li Edelkoort, Alex Flamant, François-Joseph Graf, Vincent Grégoire, Olivier Guillemin, Luca Imeri, Jean-François Lagneau, Piero Lissoni, John Malkovich, Gilles Massé, Ottavia et Rosita Missoni, Annie Mollard-Desfour, Françoise Montenay, Cristina Morozzi, Paola Navone, John Nollet, Anne-Sophie Pic, Pierre Pomiers, Daniel Rozensztroch, Benoit Sigros, Francesco Tiradritti, Ignaas Verpoest

This book owes its existence to the men and women of the European linen industry: farmers, scutchers, traders, spinners, weavers and knitters of the Linen and Hemp Community (CELC – Masters of Linen)

CELC masters of linen board of Directors: Frédéric Douchy (President), Alain Blosseville (Promotion President), Hubert Brisset, Jan Demeulenaere, Marc Depestele, Bart Depourcq, Severino Graziano, Raymond Libeert, Patrick Lonn, Judit Markus, Christian Mekerke, Elena Salvaneschi, Benoît Savourat, Marek Radwanski, Xavier Talpe and the representatives of the Technical Section.

Thanks to Isabelle Arnadi, Napoléon Bonaparte, Liz Cann, Christian Dior, Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance, Davy Duriatti, Elio Fiorucci, Kelly Hopen, Antonio Marras, Aurélie Mathigot, Christophe Pillet, Pliny, Yoriko Sakaruma, Teresa Sapey, Ishii Satoshi And also Valérie Allichon, Daniele Aliverti, Annie-Claire André, Jean-Marc André, Hans-Erwin Barth, Armelle Bédier, Carine Bezinvin, Graziella Bollini, Olivier Castaing, Hughes Charuit, Marie Chieusse, Clifford Chance Lawyers, Marie-France Cohen, Jean-Luc Colonna d’Istria, Jean-Pierre d’Arras, Pierre d’Arras, Catherine Dauriac, Rafaële David, David Del Zotto, Bruno Delforge, Magloire Delcros Varaud, Anne Doradoux, Vincent Duminil, Laurie Fayard, Liliana Ferri, Adrien Gardère, Daniel Henry, Géraldine Hetzel, Hervé Huchet, Caroline Janin, Lydia Kamitsis, Sonia Lemagnen, Michel Libeert, Carole Locatelli, Olivier Louveau, Sylvain Marcoux, Jean-Marie Massaud, Hélène Mazella, Clémentine Michaud, Jean-François Molina, Léo Morand, Marie-Agnès Oberti, Michele Ottatti, Marie-Anne Page, Philippe Pérès, Matthieu Pinet, Thibault Reinhart, Giusi Salpietra, Ann Schaubroek, Jane Scott, Françoise Seince, William Smolen, Vittorio Solbiati (U), Sylvie Souligniac, Alex Vanneste, Jean-Baptiste Voisin, Aya Wassef Thanks for their contributions to CELC masters of linen network Ornella Bignami, Laurent Denize d’Estrées, Susie McHugh, Stéphanie Morlat, Marie-Josée Rousset, Dimitri Soverini, Sue Spencer CELC masters of linen Team France Courtier, Marie Demaegdt, Morgane Fay, Christine Hisette, Julie Pariset, Sophie Vandamme

“In history, linen served to bind infants and to make funeral shrouds. So it’s the fabric of life and death, the universal fabric par excellence.” Antonio Marras, Kenzo, 2009

“Rare and broken, both at Court and the and in the country, my precious sleep requires nothing more than white linen sheets on my bed and a white linen nightshirt.” As Napoleon commented

CELC MASTERS OF LINEN - 15, rue du Louvre - 75001 Paris - France Tel.: +33 (0)1 42 21 06 83 - Fax: +33 (0)1 42 21 48 22 - -