Specialist museum of lace woven on Leavers looms.
The factory is home to multiple manufacturers. All share the driving power of a single steam engine, located in the courtyard, and external turrets serve the various workshops.
In 1902, there were up to 80 lace looms in the factory.
The site remained in operation until the year 2000, when it was bought by the city of Calais as a place dedicated to the lace industry, a flagship of the industrial history of Calais.
A long silk-screened glass façade with motifs taken from the Jacquard boxes of Leavers lace looms has been added to the body of the original building. The curves provide a symbolic contrast between the softness of lace and the austerity of the factory and the heavy-duty trades that worked there.
The scenography, crafted by the Pascal Payeur workshop, highlights the industrial and textile collections in a sophisticated setting.
In its Exhibitions gallery, the Museum presents great couturiers and renowned young designers. Cristóbal Balenciaga, Anne Valérie Hash, Iris Van Herpen, on aura tout vu.
Its Contemporary gallery is dedicated to the abundance of contemporary creation on the fashion and textile scenes, while the resource center allows you to immerse yourself in more than a century and a half of industrial archives.
The village of Saint-Pierre-lès-Calais developed with the rate of industrial growth: factories, workers' and employers' houses, banks, and shops standing alongside new institutional and cultural buildings.
The lacemaking industry shaped Calais life throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. It reached its peak at the beginning of the 20th century, with more than 500 manufacturers employing 30,000 male and female workers.
Manufacturing Calais lace is a lengthy process. The production workshop is the most impressive setting, with the famous Leavers looms, which are gigantic 12-ton cast iron machines. The mechanics of these machines have remained almost identical for nearly two centuries. The Museum features five Leavers looms, which are true pieces of historical heritage,
Ball gown, evening dress, cocktail dress and afternoon dress—all of these dress denominations were still in development during the 1960s. If it was scandalous to bare your arms, shoulders and throat during the day, it would have been just as incongruous for a young woman not to bare them in the evening.
This ball gown is composed of a bodice and an ample tiered skirt made up of three flounces of Chantilly black lace, with a broad black satin ribbon emphasizing the narrow waistline.
The aesthetic of lace has been used in unexpected ways and for an infinite variety of purposes. It is also an extremely modern source of inspiration.
The Museum invites and exhibits both emerging and established artists in fashion, design, architecture, and applied arts through exhibitions held every year.
Photos : Fred Collier | City of Calais ;
F. Kleinefenn ; Museum of Lace and Fashion, Calais