ARTIST reviews these small objects that have everything big: buttons. Accessories inseparable from the clothing that they design or structure, they subtly give it a certain allure. Far from trivial details, we notice them. Capable of strokes of genius, they can bring life back to life. They don’t just catch the eye, they catch the eye. Endowed originality, sometimes facetious, often expressive, they show off their artistic character.

Racers, flirts, their charming act hypnotizes. We touch them, we caress them without even realizing it. On the importance of the supporting role in the sensual and sensory world of textiles!

Way of life ? In tribe. They escape loneliness and enjoy life with family. Small and large, round or square, often grouped together, they can spend a life together, stationed in single file...

Stocks? Brighten up, embellish, perfect…

Faithful clothing companions, they adapt to all trends, going from classicism to fantasy. Witnesses of the past, covered in fabric or not, very graphic, playful, XXL, futuristic, or even romantic contemporariesWho are these audacious?

Androgynous, mixed, these buttons present multiple facets, coming from an infinity of surprising origins:

  • Natural materials: wood, raffia, corozo, etc. (plant origin)
  • Natural materials: horn, bone, mother-of-pearl, leather, etc. (animal origin)
  • Artificial and synthetic materials: metal alloys, glass paste, glass,
  • plastics...

    In wood 

    Boxwood from the Champagne regions or Franche-Comté and Jura, thujas and olive trees from the south of France. The wood, very pleasant to the touch, sometimes comes from Turkish oaks, or exotic species: rosewood, macassar, ebony, etc.

    In bakelite

    First plastic resin created at the beginning of the 20th century. It imitates amber, dyes wonderfully, and was a long-time star among the great Art Deco couturiers. Italian button makers still carve it.

    In Casein

    Made from milk powder and chemical processes. White in color in its raw state before taking on all kinds of desired shades, this material supports extensive polishing for the most beautiful aesthetic of the button.

    On celluloid 

    Mixture of camphor and nitrocellulose, we are talking about 1re semi-synthetic plastic material. Less used today, it imitates ivory, coral, jade, marble, glass, horn or wood!

    In ceramic

    Composed of clay and water, only glazing or varnishing makes it non-porous. This production has become rarer.

    And corne 

    Whether it comes from the Japanese water buffalo or Western cattle, there are two types of horns: the plate of the horn, where it is widest and clear or even translucent, and the tip of the horn, even wider sought after and very dark in color.

    in corozo 

    Coming from a coconut tree from South America or Sudan, the diameter of the bud is limited to that of the seed of the harvested fruit (25 mm). Corozo or vegetable ivory, plain whitish, remains the king of coats and suits.

    In leather 

    Universal, very suitable for jackets and coats, woolens and plaid fabrics among others. We use scaly skins such as alligator, shark, lizard and more flexible skins such as calf, snake, chicken or ray.

    In galalith 

    Galalith results from milk casein treated with formalin. Its remarkable plasticity allows all types of transformation.

    Made of metal

    The most common is undoubtedly Zamac: a mixture of zinc, aluminum, magnesium and sometimes copper. There are also buttons in silver, bronze and gold.


    The favorite material! For the most sublime: Tahitian mother-of-pearl with its gray-green reflections or Japanese agoya mother-of-pearl, the pearl oyster, whose inner layer has iridescent reflections. Another bright and clear mother-of-pearl comes from large shells from the seas of Asia and Australia. Mother-of-pearl can also be tinted.

    In the 

    It cuts easily. Aged, yellowed and polished, it resembles ivory.

    Precious or semi-precious stones 

    To order and tailor-made with diamond, ruby, emerald or sapphire. More “modestly” with jade, onyx, turquoise, aquamarine or even agate.

    In polyester

    Generally made in Eastern Europe, a synthetic material par excellence, it can take on a thousand and one colors and imitate all materials.

    In resin 

    We will speak more nobly of resin to mention polyester which can be dyed and molded to imitate all the materials and all the shapes of the button.

    And far 

    With the exception of Italy and Austria, glass or crystal, molded or blown, we hardly find any anymore.

    Bouton Satsuma

    Unique, he is always painted in Japan. Made of cracked or uncracked porcelain, ivory white.

    They are jewels, piece ofart, tiny sculptures, historical or without history. They add the final touch. We collect them like treasures.

    As hard to do as you wish, although forgotten in the bottom of your pocket or drawer, they always do us a service.


    Publié par Viviane VGM, Rédactrice du Magazine Artist La marque.

    1 comment

    • Elizabeth S

      Bel article sur Le Bouton. Vous savez le sublimer. Nécessaire, voire indispensable dans la « déco » du vêtement. Intéressant de par sa variété dans les matières, les formes, les couleurs. Dorénavant, j’y serai plus attentive.
      Encore merci pour toutes ces explications.

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