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Museum of Lace and Fashion in Calais

Prepare to be dazzled by Calais lace, famous throughout the world

Dentelle de Calais Museums

La dentelle de Calais® (Calais Lace)

Dentelle de Calais logoThe Dentelle de Calais® appellation is a registered and protected trademark, exclusively reserved for lace made on Leavers looms by master lacemakers of Calais and Caudry using a unique method of knotting between the warp and the weft, which dates back to the beginning of the 19th century.

The Dentelle de Calais (lace from Calais) was invented at the end of the 18th century in the English town of Nottingham and was imported to France through the port of Calais. The thread is composed of silk, linen, nylon or other fibre made by lace makers by hand or machine. The main pattern is flowers. France's haute couture industry has long relied on Calais to provide lace worthy of its designs

18 April to 31 August 2015

The Museum of Lace and Fashion in Calais welcomes the fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga.


Throughout his career, Balenciaga showed a great passion for lace.

Cristóbal Balenciaga was known as "The Master" or "The King of Haute Couture", and transformed women's fashion throughout the fifties. The Duchess of Windsor, the Spanish and Belgian Queens, as well as Princess Grace of Monaco were fans of his pure and fluid lines.

At this exhibition you will find some of the most beautiful items in his collections, influenced by French and Spanish fashion. You will also discover the history of Balenciaga, and the creative techniques associated with lace and his fashion house.

Exhibition until 31 December 2015

Digital adventures: textile creations by Modern Love

Modern Love

Get to know all about Modern Love, a new 100% British brand.

In response to the globalisation of fashion, Modern Love is harnessing its creativity to produce unique and novel designs.

World cultures, cinema, geometric design, plant and animal worlds… The brand draws its inspiration from a wide range of themes for its 2015 Spring/Summer Collection, a selection of which is on show at the "Cité de la dentelle et de la mode" in Calais.

Modern Love

A mix of traditional practices and digital technologies.

When you visit the exhibition, you can also try your hand at being an apprentice designer. Using the samples provided, create your own designs and post your amazing ideas on the Modern Love blog!

Museum of Lace and Fashion in Calais

This landmark museum recounts the history of the famous and celebrated mechanical lace-making industry of Calais.

nternational Centre for Lace and Fashion in Calais is built in the heart of a 19th-century former lace

Museum of Lace and Fashion in Calais

Housed in what was once a 19th century lace factory, with a modern extension of glass and steel degined by the architects Alain Moatti and Henri Rivière, the building alone is worth a visit. Moatti and Rivière, who also designed the head office of Jean-Paul Gaultier Couture, wanted to highlight the value of the city's heritage, while creating a link with contemporary design. A long façade of screen-printed glass, with motifs from Jacquard punch cards of the Leavers lace machines, has been carefully grafted onto the original building.

A testimony to Calais' industrial past, the Museum presents the know-how, techniques and uses of lace throughout Calais' economic and social history. A particular highlight is discovering five Leavers looms in operation. The museum also presents contemporary aspects of lace production, establishing itself as a place of both memory and modernity.

It is a unique resource centre that attracts fashion designers and artists from all corners of the world.

Kate Middleton chose the in-depth knowledge of the tullists of Caudry (Nord "département"), who, for the last 150 years, have made a type of high-end Calais lace that is exported around the world. Read more...

The permanent galleries, covering 2500 sq.m., are divided into five sections devoted to handmade lace, the industrial history of lace-making in Calais, lace-making machines and the production workshop, fashions in lace in the 20th and 21st centuries, the present and future of lace.

The four fully-functioning Leavers looms a particular

The four fully-functioning Leavers looms a particular highpoint

An area of 500 sq.m. is reserved for temporary exhibitions. The centre also provides a venue for study, research, training, meetings, social events and creativity. It houses an auditorium, fashion show hall, specialist library, workshops for all ages in learning lace-making, lace conservation, fashion and design, an area dedicated to the profession, a shop, restaurant, etc.

The Centre for Lace and Fashion takes visitors on an exceptional journey into the word of lace.

The Museum for Lace and Fashion takes visitors on an exceptional journey into the word of lace.

Prepare to be dazzled by the lacy haute couture garments on display, and some very sexy examples of lingerie.

Discover the unique lace experience!

Getting there and around

Just a 15 minute drive from Eurotunnel's Calais Terminal.

Cité internationale de la dentelle et de la mode de Calais
135 Quai du Commerce
62100 Calais – France
Tel.: +33 (0)3 21 00 42 30

Opening Times:
Open every day except Tuesdays, 10am to 6pm (5pm from 1st November to 31st March)
Annual closure : From January 1st to 15th, May 1st and December 25th

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Book travelTravel with Eurotunnel from £23Prices start from£23per car, each way*
*£23 Day Trip & Overnight - Ticket must be purchased as part of a 2 day return. Return must be completed by midnight (local time) on the second calendar day.