The art of fanmaking

Faithful to the tradition of French fan making, DUVELLEROY appealed to the know- how of more than ten artisans to shape its creations. Engravers, pleaters, embroiderers are involved in the manufacturing of these precious objects. A fan maker, one of the last in France, assembles every fan by hand. Each DUVELLEROY fan is signed by the House’s emblem, a golden daisy. 


A fan leaf’s pattern demands mathematical précision. It is a vital élément for all the manufacturing stages, from the pleating to the embroidering and the final assembly.

The number and the width of pleats is dictated by the shape- the rounded « fontage », classic half-moon or square « mouchoir »- and by the frame’s design. 



The leaf’s ennoblement bélongs to gold-fingered craftmen who patiently apply the gold paint, embroider the sequins with the thinenst thread. Rigorous and passionate, they let only the irreproachable  leafs out of the workshop.


The invention of the pleating mould in France more than two centuries ago allowed the development of textile fans. The practice has remained unchanged ever since.

The pleating is a fast and precise gesture.

The pleats’ symetry must be perfect. The 90 shapes of pleating moulds preserved by the House of DUVELLEROY are a vivid and very useful Memory ! One wrong pleating and the leaf is thrown away, no matter the time of embroider and ennoblement it may have demanded. 



Cutting up

Horn, ebony, mother of pearl are cut up are cut up in the raw materials to obtain layers only 9/10th mm thick, which are then cut in the shape of the frame. The losses are important bur this is the indispensable condition to obtain frames of 14 sticks that lose nothing of their leightness.

This requirement is the characteristic trademark of the French fan makers.




Once cut, the frame is entrusted to the fan maker who finishes each stick by lowering  its head, polishing the material, engraving by hand the patterns on ebony or on mother of pearl. The sticks and guards are then assembled thankds to a rivet.

Fragile when they are alone, one united, the sticks are ready to cross the centuries. 



The final stage is mastered only by the fan maker. It consists in gathering forever the leaf and the frame. The sticks are stuck one by one in the center of every other pleat. The glue must be présent enough to maintain the fan during décades while being perfectly invisible.

One mounted, the leaf is hand trimmed. The fan is done.


A Living Heritage Company


 In 2012, DUVELLEROY has been awarded The Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant label (Living Heritage Company, or EPV). This label is a mark of recognition of the French Ministry of the Economy, Industry and Employment, put in place to reward French firms for the excellence of their traditional and industrial skills.