Couture dressmakers relied (and still do) on the Ancillary Trades for specialised skills, such as pleating, embroidery and embellishments. Rather than just the finishing touches, these can be the most desirable aspect of a whole design or be the structural basis for a garment.
These can provide the instant wow factor that gives you the fist sign that this is a special, more luxurious item.
This charming video below was brought to our attention in the lectures. It shows the Australian maker Harry Nairn hand cutting, shaping, dying and assembling all the individual parts of a silk flower in his own workspace at home.
Couture houses would historically send "matchers" to the addresses of specialised makers. These girls would seek out matching flowers, trimmings or other embellishments in the very particular shades or styles necessary to co-ordinate with the fabrics for the garments.
The names and addresses of the top artisans would be their best kept secrets to give them the winning edge against competitors. Although flattering, this was unfortunate for these highly skilled individuals, trying to maintain a living by providing an already niche service.