From Paris to Fez with Catherine Gaillard
The city of Fez (Morocco), was founded in the 8th century. Fez is famous for its leather products, most of which comes from the leather bazaar (souq). The souq is home to three ancient leather tanneries, the largest and oldest being the Chouara Tannery, which is almost a thousand years old.
Fez’s tanneries are composed of numerous stone vessels filled with a vast range of dyes and various liquids spread out like a tray of watercolors. Dozens of men, many standing waist deep in dyes, work under the hot sun tending to the hides that remain soaked in the vessels. The tanneries process the hides of cows, sheep, goats and camels, turning them into high quality leather products such as bags, coats, shoes. It is all achieved manually, without the need for modern machinery, and the process has barely changed since medieval times. It is arduous, tiring, pungent, dirty work.
Catherine Gaillard moved from Paris to Fez in 2014 after a long career as an architect and artistic director for various fashion brands.
She lives in the old town or the medina called Fes el-Bali, that has hardly changed for centuries.
There she harnesses the savoir-faire of the local artisans to design and create her bags.
Clean, geometric lines are her trademark. The leather is butter soft and the quilting pattern surprising. Coupled with resin oblong links handles, the bags are just stunning.