Lavabre Cadet was founded in Millau, France in 1946 by Francis Lavabre and his wife (the ‘cadet’ is a French nickname used for the youngest in the family). Lavabre used to run another atelier, and he and his wife made a good team – she was a pattern maker and designer, he a maker and manager.
From the start, Lavabre Cadet focused on bespoke and haute couture. This is unusual among glove makers, most of which have always made big runs and often had army or other large-scale contracts.
Lavabre made for Dior, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent (man and brand) and is still popular with designers today given its local, small-scale production. It has also always prided itself on the design or couture aspect of the work: “If we can’t make it, no one can” is a phrase often used.*
So, what sets Lavabre Cadet apart? It’s partly materials and partly workmanship – with the latter a lot easier to illustrate.
Any glove that is handsewn has the stitching clearly on display. The more stitches there are, the finer the work is. I compared the turned-back bottom edge of my Merola and Thomas Riemer gloves to those of Lavabre (above) and found the French maker had around 40% more.