Trims consist of many types; the most common are tassels, braids, ribbons, buttons, lace, and beads. They can serve a function, such as a button, but more often are strictly nonessential decorative elements. They can convey rank (as in military braids) or position due to their expense. Trims run the gamut from prosaic to ostentatious. As early as the thirteenth century, guilds existed for buttonmak-ers in Italy and France. Convents were often centers of production of high-quality trims, including braids and embroidered boarders. During the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, knitting frames were used to make trims such as ribbons, braids, yarns, and tapes. It was during this time period that passementerie ("trimming bands") were produced in France. This process required such skill that an apprenticeship typically lasted for five years. By the seventeenth century, small hand-powered devices created tie cloths. It was during the nineteenth century, however, that power machines made tassels and the house of Lesage began beading for clients such as Worth, Poiret, and Paquin. René Béque, known as Rébé, was a competitor of Lesage and had both Dior and Hartnell as costumers. Anea Tonegatti had Mainbocher and Norell as customers. All of these great trim houses produced master pieces of beading and embroideries for their couture house clients. A $15,000 couture gown could have $10,000 worth of embroidery on it. In the twentieth century, the ready-to-wear market moved mass production to places like China, India, and Turkey—and even Lesage opened a production facility in India.

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. .

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