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An Iranian princess, a wheelchair-bound former secret agent, Nazi Germany, the Khmer Rouge, and some of the world’s most powerful fashion houses. It may read like the cast of a dodgy James Bond film but these are just some of the threads that come together in the extraordinary weave of Toile de Cuir leather.

The exact weaving technique is still a closely guarded secret, locked up in the unflashy workshop of Atelier Charles Schambourg on an industrial estate in the sleepy Brussels suburb of Forêt. Developed in the 1960s by former Belgian secret…



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