AmboiseCulture & HeritageTraditions & Knowledge Article published on3rd June 2019
Pushing the massive wooden door of the Tour de l’Horloge is already the promise of beautiful discoveries. Yet, none of the visitors walking down the pedestrian street Rue Nationale would imagine the treasures hiding within these venerable walls. Here, in one of Amboise most photographed monument lays the costumes workshop of the Amboise Sound and Light show. There we met some incredible women…
We pass the door in the middle of a try on. The nimble fingers are working hard on a copy of a 16th century princess dress, due to be worn for the grand Premiere in July. “A dress like this implies ten days of work. And we make our patterns alone”. All around us, a colourful jumble of fabrics of all kinds. “We have two local suppliers, and also work with one in Paris. And we are pros of reuse techniques; for example, this was taken from old curtains!”
A treasure trunk
Upstairs, another room is full of all sorts of costumes and robes. “We have over 1500 costumes; and no dress is exactly like its neighbour!” Accessories, helmets and halberds are pilled in the corner of the room, with chests full of caps across the room. One could nearly picture King Francis’ lovers queuing for a nice shopping time. On a shelf, an impressive line of boxes unveils thousands of tiny pearls, ready to ornate some pretty women’s outfits.
When we clean the dresses, we have to remove each pearl one by one, then stitch them back on. A careful but huge work!
A very friendly atmosphere
But who’s hiding behind the smiles of these very skilled hands? “We are a dozen of women, member of the association Animation Renaissance Amboise. None of us worked in that field, but we are from a generation when sewing and handwork were part of the education of young girls. We meet twice a week at the workshop, and our sessions are also the occasion of some great chatting”. Among the top three topics? “Costumes of course, but above all cooking…and men!”
All volunteers welcome
The small group of dressmakers is open to all good wills. Anyone wishing to play a part is more than welcome; just push the door or contact the association. For all the others, patience is required to be able to admire the result of their work. The grand Premiere of the Sound & Light show will take place on Saturday July 6th.