Image : Jean Bracq S/S 2020 Collection
Photo: Alex Gallosi
In the run-up the spring/summer 2019 Haute-Couture fashion shows, taking place in Paris this 21 to 24 January, we go behind the scenes of this vast beauty spectacle to discover an exceptional know-how, created far from the applause it elicits, in the workshops where lace from Calais-Caudry is woven, in two cities in northern France.
Since the early 19th century, Calais and then Caudry have been the main centres of production of this unique, world-renowned lace: Leavers lace.
This woven lace of such unparalleled fineness has a heritage value, trademarked and protected under the name “Dentelle de Calais-Caudry®”. It is only produced in these two cities in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, and always on Leavers looms.
Jean Bracq lace
Invented in 1834, the Leavers lace loom, named after its inventor, evolved from the tulle looms developed in 1809. Initially, they were smuggled from England into France in separate parts (as French customs prevented trade between the two countries) and introduced in Caudry. The Leavers loom added the jacquard technique to mechanical tulle looms. This made it possible to embellish tulle grounds with motifs, and thus create industrial imitations of the hand-laces made famous in French cities such as Chantilly, Valenciennes, Alençon and Cluny.
Today, Leavers looms are equipped with electronic jacquard technology, allowing them to work from computer-assisted designs, developed following the creative hand-drawing phase.
Hand drawing lace
Enormous, almost monstrously large machines weighing several tons produce a precious and diaphanous lace, where the finest of yarns have been tamed to create highly diverse motifs, from timeless classics to the wildly creative. The fabric is then enhanced by hand for its final transformations and finishings, its final embellishments.
The wheeler machine
Positioning the threads
Filling the bobbins
Positioning the carriages
A Leavers loom
On the sidelines of the catwalks, behind the incredible dresses presented by the luxury houses, lies a world of expert technicians and designers who rely on 200-year-old machinery to bring the dreams of couturiers to life. But years count for little in the face of such passion. Calais-Caudry lace shows no signs of aging. It is reborn each season, in each collection. It closely follows the trends and perfects its tools. Heir to an ancestral know-how, it never becomes dated, and innovation is inscribed in its very fibre.
Jean Bracq S/S 2020 collection
Photo: Alex Gallosi
Thanks to this lace, Haute Couture – as well as corsetry, lingerie and bridal collections – can cultivate all their uniqueness, and celebrate a rare, fundamentally magnificent fabric that few lace-makers have mastered, and continue to offer.
Preview the Première Vision Marketplace selection of the S/S 2020 collections from outstanding lace makers Jean Bracq, Dentelles André Laude and Solstiss, and come meet them at the Première Vision Paris show, 12 to 14 February 2019.
Fabrics | Lace | Jean Bracq, France | Ref : 3921 INDIGO – 3921 INDIGO | 80% PA 20% CO | See more
Fabrics | Lace | Jean Bracq, France| Ref : 7269 KAKI – 7269 KAKI | 100% CO | See more
Fabrics | Lace | Jean Bracq, France | Ref : 633801 PENOMBRE FICELLE – 633801 PENOMBRE FICELLE |PA : 70% PES : 30% | See more
Fabrics | Lace | Solstiss, France | Ref : 607M09-ED22 – 607M09 |70 % cotton 30 % polyamide | See more
Fabrics | Lace | Solstiss, France| Ref : B07112-G90 – B07112 |90 % metalloplastic 10 % polyamide| See more
Fabrics | Lace | Dentelles André Laude, France| Ref : 18516 – Calais-Caudry|40%CO 60%Ny | See more
Fabrics | Lace | Dentelles André Laude, France| Ref : 18559 – Calais-Caudry | 40%CO 60%Ny | See more
Fabrics | Lace | Dentelle Sophie Hallette, France| Ref : 181009.2/20 RI 121 – Labyrinthe Perlé 20cm | 67% PA 33% PES | See more
Fabrics | Lace | Dentelle Sophie Hallette, France| Ref : 903213.11/90 – Eugénie 90cm |50% CV 48% PA | See more
Click to watch a video about the Dentelle de Calais-Caudry®
And before you go, do you know the difference between lace and guipure? We lay it all out for you in this “know-how” article.