Millau can be proud of having ambassadors like Nicole Kidman, Kylie Minogue, Sharon Stone, Pharrell Williams, Marion Cotillard or Madonna...And why?! Well, it’s because they all wear the fashion accessory that’s in style – gloves! And not just any old glove… animal skin gloves, made of leather manufactured in the Millau workshops where this savoir-faire in excellence has been handed down through generations since the Middle Ages. Work that is there for all to see since workshops and factories open their doors to visitors who want to see, touch, understand, share and above all, pass it on…
The world of Haute-couture made no mistake and regularly calls on Millau’s seamstresses. Recently it was Daft Punk who succumbed to gloves made in Millau! Prestige at your fingertips!
As early as the 12th century, texts have mentioned the existence of tawers working sheepskins.
Sheepskin activity in Millau is linked to the production of Roquefort and the huge amounts of ewe’s milk needed. The abundance of livestock (up to 150,000 ewes on the Larzac plateau alone), the unequalled quality of its lambskin as well as the presence of a river (this activity consumes vast quantities of water) shot Millau to fame for its gloves.
The glove industry soared in the 18th century with the development of transport and the fashion of wearing gloves among the civil and religious élites, passed on by the 18th century salons.
Strengthened by practically a thousand years of know-how and tradition, Millau gloves and sheepskin constantly established themselves worldwide thanks to their quality and creativity.
Glove-making rapidly became the domineering industry in Millau and was a source of livelihood for up to 12,000 people in a town with a population of 18,000 at the start of the 20th century.
The glove industry reached its peak between the two world wars when Millau became « The World Capital of Sheepskin and Gloves », taking over from Grenoble.
Glove-making however is inextricably linked to competition from emerging countries, to changing fashions and to the use of synthetic materials. Gloves gradually became to be considered as something useful for working or for beating the cold.
An activity that sheds its skin!
Modern-day glove-making has found its salvation in Haute Couture and the fashion world which demand gloves from Millau which can be found in luxury boutiques worldwide.
Today, Dior, Chanel, Hermès, Vuitton and stars from all around the world call upon Millau’s craftsmen and factories.
Artistic trades flock to Millau to present their know-how to the public
Since 2000, Millau has been awarded the « Town and Trades of Art » label, galvanised mainly by the town’s glove-making history.
Some twenty Millau professionals open up their workshops and welcome you so as to show their trade to all: ceramicist, potter, textile creation, cutler, cabinetmaker, wood-turner, box-maker, frame-maker, metal sculptor, joiner, blacksmith, metalworker, bookbinder, wood-painter, stonemason… the list is long and incomplete, such is the extent of this exceptional richness.
Warm hands: heated glove-form, the equivalent of a dry-cleaner’s for gloves!
Little hands: nickname for seamstresses
Nubuck: leather that has been sanded specifically so as to present a velvety aspect
Charlemagne’s foot: historic measurement for glovers (32.4cms) divided into 12 inches
Iron hand: punch where rectangles of animal skin are placed before being cut up at the press