Lamyne M | Les Grandes Robes Royales


If French history can be said to have a heart, it might lodge in the Basilica of Saint-Denis, on the outskirts of Paris. Here are entombed the sovereigns who ruled France “by divine right” for centuries. Lamyne M. elevates and honors France’s queens—the often-overlooked wives and mothers of kings. Beginning with the queens’ costumes carved into their tomb effigies, Lamyne M. reimagines and monumentalizes their robes to works three meters in height. He collaborates with artisans, designers, and students from the myriad of cultures that live in Saint-Denis—said to be the most diverse place in Europe today. Their combined handiwork imbues each robe with color, texture, pattern, and symbolism that underscore each queen’s character and contribution. Simultaneously, these “grandes robes royales” reflect a contemporary vision of everyday France, a cloak of many colors and cultures stitched together by women’s hands. As such, these royal robes have become ambassadors of diversity within contemporary democracy, traveling within Europe, Asia, and South America. They also embed contemporary critique and reflection, for example, in Berthe au Grand Pied by integrating denim, of which Saint-Denis is Europe’s largest consumer and therefore is implicated in the multiple problems of “fast fashion,” which in turn invites us to reflect on the global economy of clothes production and its environmental implications. This ability of the robes to comment on such issues as economy and ecology is adaptable to other contexts, for example problems of oil production in Azerbaijan, where Lamyne was commissioned to produce related works.  

Additional works
Jeanne de France
Jeanne II de France