Lace in Fashion | Events at The Fashion Museum
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Lace in Fashion display case

Lace in Fashion

Lace has been a sign of style and elegance since the sixteenth century. From fine luxury garments worn by royals and the aristocracy to machine-made fashions for the everyday, our exhibition for 2017 reveals both the techniques and the top names that have made lace such an enduring fashion trend. Featuring 50 historic treasures and designer dresses, Lace in Fashion draws on the riches of the Fashion Museum collection to showcase the skill and seduction of this fashionable fabric.

Lace in Fashion is the culmination of a two year project to catalogue the Museum’s extensive archives of lace dating from the 1500s to the present day, supported by Arts Council England. Assisted by expert volunteers from the Lace Guild, we have been able to revaluate how lace is used in the Fashion Museum collection and uncover its journey from craft to catwalk.

The oldest object in the exhibition is a smock dating from around 1580 with Flemish bobbin lace on the sleeves and collar, one of the earliest pieces in the Fashion Museum collection. Another of the Museum’s rarest treasures also appears in the show: the Silver Tissue Dress which dates from the 1660s is trimmed with exquisite parchment lace, a rare and delicate fabric made using tiny strips of parchment or paper wrapped in silk.

Other highlights include a navy blue lace dress worn by actress Lea Seydoux in the James Bond film Spectre, which has been loaned to the Fashion Museum by Australian design duo Lover, as well as elegant evening gowns by top fashion names Balmain, Balenciaga and Molyneux.

Lace in Fashion will be on display from 4 February 2017 to 1 January 2018.

Visitor reviews

  • Beautiful special collection of lace fashions
  • Really interesting collection of costumes.
  • Beautiful exhibits, well curated and very interesting.

Design your own Lace pattern

To celebrate our Lace in Fashion exhibition, you can use our simple design tool to create and share your own lace pattern! When you've finished your design it will be added to our lace design gallery.