Haute Dentelle is revealing high-end lace and its use in haute couture today



The Cité de la Dentelle et de la Mode in Calais is holding a new exhibition, “Haute Dentelle,” devoted to high-end lace and its use in haute couture today. Haute Dentelle is laid out in the 656 m² temporary exhibition gallery. The exhibition pathway is made up of 14 display cases presenting 65 clothing pieces from the heritage collections of 14 of some of the most prestigious fashion houses on the French and international scene, from CHANEL to VALENTINO and including Ralph & Russo and Viktor & Rolf.

After the success of the exhibitions Hubert de Givenchy, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Anne Valérie Hash and Iris van Herpen, the Museum of Lace and Fashion in Calais, dedicated to hand-made and mechanical lace, presents the “Haute Dentelle” (Designer Lace) exhibition.

Haute Dentelle Exhibitions

Haute Dentelle Exhibitions; photo: chanel.com; chanel-news.chanel.com/en/home.html


“Haute Dentelle” offers a unique insight into the contemporary uses by fashion designers of lace woven on Leavers looms. Implicitly, exhibition curator Sylvie Marot weaves a unique dialogue between lace houses and fashion houses, revealing behind these exchanges powerful creative propositions.

Haute Dentelle Exhibition in Calais - Alberta Ferretti - Maison Martin Margiela

Haute Dentelle Exhibition pieces; photos: www.cite-dentelle.fr/en/


First inspired by and then liberated from hand-made lace, mechanical laces have been marrying tradition with innovation for 200 years. Synonymous with delicacy, the apparent fragility of the lace is an illusion: its woven texture makes it unravelable. A textile of high technicity, the subject of never-ending design research among
lace-makers, lace has never been so multi-faceted. In infinite shades, textures, finishing techniques and embroideries, it may be transparent or opaque, with floral or abstract patterns, light or three-dimensional… to the point of becoming magnificently unrecognizable.

EXCEPTIONAL PIECES have been selected from thirteen fashion houses: Chanel (11 looks), Christian Dior (1 look), Viktor & Rolf (3 looks), Iris van Herpen (3 looks), Balenciaga (2 looks), Ralph & Russo (3 looks), Maison Margiela (3 looks), Schiaparelli (5 looks), Alberta Ferretti (7 looks), Valentino (6 looks), Louis Vuitton (6 looks),
Yiqing Yin (5 looks), Zuhair Murad (8 looks), and Jean Paul Gaultier (2 looks).

Because of the ultra-contemporary aspect of the lace pieces, all the fashion silhouettes are provided by the fashion houses. The Maison Lemarié has provided samples demonstrating research into textile manipulation. The lace makers have loaned samples of lace, with of without finishing, so as to provide a measure of the richness of this fabric, and also to separate it from the garment.

Haute Dentelle Exhibition in Calais - Valentino Schiaparelli

Haute Dentelle Exhibition pieces; photos: www.cite-dentelle.fr/en/

“Haute Dentelle” Exhibition In Figures:

14 display cases are placed along the exhibition pathway;
14 French and International fashion houses (Paris, London, Beirut, Milan, Rome, Amsterdam);
65 silhouettes from the last five years: the oldest dates from summer 2012 and the most recent from summer
65 samples of lace;
15 French lace manufacturers today perpetuate the know-how dedicated to the lace woven on Leavers looms.
This lace is intended for haute couture, lingerie and high-end pret-a-porter.

Haute Dentelle Exhibition in Calais - Chanel Dress

Haute Dentelle Exhibition pieces- Chanel Dress; photos: www.cite-dentelle.fr/en/

CHANEL loaned 11 ensembles illustrating the exceptional craftsmanship of the luxury Maison and its Métiers d’art. One of them, an ensemble from the Spring‑Summer 2015 Haute Couture collection photographed by Karl Lagerfeld, was selected for the exhibition poster.

Lace was one of Gabrielle Chanel’s favorite materials for evening gowns. In a 1939 article, Chanel recommends the use of lace, which she saw as “one of the prettiest imitations that’s ever been made of nature’s whimsies. (…) I think tulle and lace have always lent charm, gracefulness and nobility to women’s elegance.” Thanks to Karl Lagerfeld, CHANEL is perpetuating French lace expertise and renewing it through its collections.

“Haute Dentelle” Exhibition;
Cité de la Dentelle et de la Mode, Museum of Lace and Fashion in Calais;
Calais, France;
to January 6, 2019.

Haute Dentelle Exhibition in Calais - Balenciaga

Haute Dentelle Exhibition pieces; photos: www.cite-dentelle.fr/en/


Haute Dentelle Exhibition in Calais - Christian Dior

Haute Dentelle Exhibition pieces Christian Dior Dress; photos: www.cite-dentelle.fr/en/