在Christian Dior 2015 s/s 高級訂製服的幕後花絮裡面，我們看得到中間有一段在壓褶工坊的畫面．影片1"09開始的畫面就是巴黎相當著名的壓褶工坊Gérard Lognon．
This footage about the pleating process is taken from ‘The Making of a Dior Couture Dress’. It was recorded in the famous plisseur, Gérard Lognon, in Paris.
其實，在各大時尚都市裡面，都有一個這樣的壓褶工坊．巴黎有Gérard Lognon，紐約有International Pleating，而倫敦則有Ciment Pleaing. 這些壓褶工坊除了協助各大服裝品牌、獨立設計師在時裝周的製作秀上款外，更是傳承壓褶技藝的活歷史．
Each fashion city has its own pleating studio: Gérard Lognon in Paris, New York has International Pleating, and in London, we have Ciment Pleating. These pleating studios not only help big fashion houses and individual designers to make show pieces, they also are the living history of pleating craftsmanship.
今天我們來介紹位在倫敦北邊的Ciment Pleating. Ciment Pleating位在倫敦北邊的Potter Bar． 從倫敦市中心的king’s Cross搭火車大概10分鐘，而工坊就在Potter Bar火車站旁邊，走路約5分鐘即可抵達．
This blog post introduces Ciment Pleating, located in north London. You can easily get to Potters Bar from King’s Cross and it takes around 10 minutes. Ciment Pleating is 5 minute walk from Potters Bar train station.
Ciment Pleating算是一個家族企業．從1925年便開始經營．他們提供的服務有機器壓褶以及手工壓褶．目前工坊有兩個技師來負責手工壓褶，負責人Matt則主要照顧機器壓褶的部分．工坊的配置相當簡單，其實裡面分兩個區域，一邊是機器運作的機器壓褶；另外一邊則是三張大工作桌、蒸氣箱、熨斗和模具收納架．這一區算是Ciment Pleating的核心區域．
Matt Weinert is the Managing Director of the studio. Actually, Ciment Pleating is a family business, started by Matt’s grandfather in 1925. They offer two main services: machine pleating and fancy pleating. Currently, there are two technicians in charge of fancy pleating and Matt takes care of machine pleating.
The workshop is simply divided into two areas; one has three pleating machines and the other has three large working tables, steamers, irons and shelf full of pleating patterns. These are the core elements of Ciment Pleating.
So what is a machine pleat? Each of the three pleating machines produces a different pattern, however the effect from machine pleats is limited straight line pleats, the kind we are used to seeing on a pleated skirt.
When the studio receives the order, they send the fabric inbetween two sheets of thin paper into the pleating machine. The weight of paper varies depending on the machine and the size of pleats. Generally speaking, the tissue paper is between 30 gm to 50 gm. After pleating, the fabric is fixed by a heated felt roller.
Once through this process, the high temperature pleated fabric is sent out together with the two layers of paper. Machine pleated fabric can be delivered to clients immediately after the pleating process. It is really fast to do machine pleating. However, the pattern is limited to straight lines with a width range that is usually between 2mm -12mm.
The studio doesn't carry fabric in stock. Clients who place an order need to send their own fabric, and Matt will evaluate whether it can be pleated or not. If his experience tells him it will not hold a pleat, he will reject the project. However, Matt is really excited to challenge different materials and he has pleated leather, metal and milk fibre. During my visit, there was a client who wanted to experiment with pleating a thin jersey fabric
What about the fancy pleating process?
一走進Ciment Pleating，右手邊是三張大的工作桌以及滿滿版型的收納架．如同在影片中看到巴黎的Gérard Lognon工坊，Ciment Pleating也有許多版型可以供客戶選擇．在Ciment Pleating的官方網站上有許多sample，不過客戶最好能夠親自跑一趟工坊，現場選擇想要的版型，畢竟他們的版型有兩千多種，費用的部分則會端看版型的複雜度而定．
When you enter the studio, you see three big work tables and a shelf full of paper patterns. As with the services offered by Gérard Lognon in the video, Ciment Pleating offers various patterns to clients.
You can browse the pleating samples on their website. However, if you want to place an order, I recommend you visit in person. After all they have more than 2,000 patterns and the price varies according to the complexity of each pattern.
When clients decide which pleat they want, technicians will take out the relevant patterns.Each pattern has two moulds, which are exactly the same.
The staff flatten one of the patterns, which will act as the first mould, and spread the fabric onto it. Then they will flatten the other pattern on top of the fabric, using clip to stabilise it, slightly moving the two moulds if necessary so that they match. This process is very important when it comes to a complicated pattern.
When the three layers (paper mould – fabric – paper mould) are flattened, technicians attach two wood slats with lighter weights to fix the half pleated fabric and moulds.
When the moulds, fabric, weights and wood slats are ready, staff start to gather together the moulds (fabric included). This step usually needs two people and teamwork is essential. If they cannot sync, it may cause the fabric to offset.
Once the technicians have gathered the moulds, there are two possibilities. For a flat pleat, the moulds are rolled up as a cylinder and tightened with a belt. For a semi-3D pleat, the moulds are clipped together in a kind of folding-fan shape before being tightened with a belt.
The tightened moulds are put into a steamer, and steamed for 1 hour with 100ºC (for some pressure, the temperature will rise to 102ºC-105ºC). After steaming, the whole set (with belt attached) needs to be cooled for 24 hours. If the weather permits, it is better to cool it outside because rapid cooldown helps to fix the shape.
Finally, technicians open the moulds and draw out the fabric. At this point, the pleating process is completed and the fabric ready to hand back to customers.
The studio still keeps several moulds that are more than half a century old.
Some moulds are complex and oversize.
We all know that natural fibre cannot hold pleats after washing. The ancient Egyptians and Chinese needed to repeat the pleating process and baked garments under the sun after each laundry. So far, our technology still cannot allow us to pleat natural fibre permanently.
Ciment Pleating glue a layer of backing on the reverse side of natural fibres after pleating. The backing will fix the pleats but the fabric will lose it flexibility.
在拜訪的期間，工坊的技師 向我展示了一個時尚界的秘密．在時尚界裡，有兩位打褶大師．第一位是我們熟悉的三宅一生（Issey Miyake, 1938-），另外一位是威尼斯的代表Mariano Fortuny（1871-1949）．Fortuny知名的壓褶裙是絲質的百褶連身裙，Delphos．到目前為止還沒有人能知道Delphos是怎麼製作的．Ciment Pleating 的技師則向我展示了這個秘密．
During my visit, staff gave me the answer to one of the biggest mysteries in fashion history. There are 2 pleating masters; contemporary designer Issey Miyake (1938-), and Mariano Fortuny(1871-1949). Fortuny is famous for his silk pleated dress ‘Delphos’, and no one knows for sure how he made this dress. Technicians at Ciment Pleating showed me what they think is the secret.
Dampening the fabric is the first step. Then fix two ends of the cloth and start to twist in opposite directions until it cannot go any further. Using an iron, steam the cloth until it is dry and then open it. After repeating the whole twisting, ironing process two or three times, you can acquire a wrinkle-like Fortuny pleat.
I will explain more about these famous Fortuny pleats in the next post!