The collections of the mid- 2000's were without a doubt really really beautiful. Fine couture. Italian and French fabrics were combined with our hand -woven silks into a kind of demi-couture. marianne began to embellish and embroider the the hand woven items with work done in Europe by venerable work shops whose lineage went back hundreds of years. The intensity of creativity was becoming multi-layered and the degree of hand work was sometimes so rich that it was actually hard to imagine the complexity because at this time we were competing with increasingly mass produced items that were beginning to undercut the European crafts. We began to notice that these European craft producers were disappearing, going bankrupt and vanishing. First it was the drop glass buttons from Germany, then the fine Italian buckle makers and the embroidery house. We saw this as a worrisome trend and re-doubled our commitment to the hand work , but it was a shadow....we felt it profoundly.