The Art of Lace
Chanel, Dior, Valentino: lace is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for countless prestigious fashion houses. The TextielMuseum presents the international exhibition ‘The Art of Lace | Haute couture from Chanel to Iris van Herpen “, where creations from the world’s most famous fashion houses can be seen. The exhibition, previously on display in Calais, focuses on the innovative power of the French Leavers lace. The visitor gets a glimpse behind the scenes at the lace makers and couturiers: from the design and manufacturing process to the end product, ready for the catwalk.
With almost 50 pieces by Alberta Ferretti, Balenciaga, Chanel, Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Iris van Herpen, Louis Vuitton, Maison Margiela, Schiaparelli, Valentino and Yiqing Yin.
Leavers: innovation in lace
The Leavers lace woven on a loom has great advantages for the experimental designs of fashion designers and challenges them to the maximum in the design process to come up with something special. The fabric appears delicate but proves strong: unlike knitted lace, it is resistant to fraying. It can be transparent or opaque, patterns, material and color can vary and it can be woven three-dimensionally. Karl Lagerfeld laminated lace for one of his collections for Chanel so that the stiffness of the material accentuates the patterns. Iris van Herpen is inspired by lace patterns and mimics the effect of the fabric with 3D print.
View behind the scenes
The exhibition “The art of lace” offers a glimpse behind the scenes of haute couture and shows the dialogue between the Leavers lace makers and the fashion houses. Where fashion houses normally keep their suppliers and techniques secret, this exhibition exposes the entire process per haute couture piece, with videos and samples that may be touched. The process from lace to couture is one of continuous further development and innovation of the craft. “The art of lace” not only honors the vision of the fashion designer, but also the creativity and craftsmanship of the lace maker, and shows the journey from thread to fashion show in a unique way.
The development of lace
The originally handmade lace was extremely expensive due to its intensive and slow production process. When the industrial revolution in England began in the early 19th century, various lace machines were developed, including the Leavers loom. After smuggling the machine to the north of France, a rich lace industry emerges in which the Leavers technique plays the leading role. With the advent of knitted lace and a changing taste in fashion, the craft of woven lace comes under pressure from the 1960s onwards due to its technical complexity and high costs. Today, only a handful of specialized lace makers produce the Dentelle de Calais-Caudry, and make fabrics for the largest fashion houses in Paris and beyond.
Publication and additional program
The exhibition includes the richly illustrated publication Haute Dentelle, compiled by Sylvie Marot and written by Shazia Boucher, Anne-Claire Laronde, Sylvie Marot and Sophie Henwood-Nivet, with photos by Robin. This publication on innovative, woven lace offers a nice photographic overview of the pieces in the exhibition and contains exclusive interviews with Nadine Dufat (LEMARIé), Bertrand Guyon (SCHIAPARELLI), Zuhair Murad, Tamara Ralph (RALPH & RUSSO), Frédéric Rumigny (DARQUER ), Adeline Sapin (SOLSTISS) and Yiqing Yin. The publication is bilingual (French & English). The co-edition of the Cité de la Dentelle et de la Mode published by Snoeck can be purchased for 35 euros from the exhibition in the Museum Shop.
On the occasion of the exhibition, the museum organizes various workshops and master classes on lace and fashion. www.textielmuseum.nl.