Lace and Status
Textilmuseum St. Gallen
– 10 February 2019
The textile museum in St. Gallen, one of Switzerland’s still remaining textile centres, is exhibiting its collection of historical lace until February 2019. This history of lace is related and follows the developments of its techniques and courtly fashions from the beginning of the 15th to the end of the 18th century.
Lace is a patterned textile made of yarn, or yarn and fabric and is distinguished by its openwork. Originally used to ornament clothing, lace is now used for lingerie, wedding dresses, table linen, and curtains, for example. The technique was developed mainly by women who made the lace at home. Starting in Italy, it soon influenced the clothing of all the upper classes in Europe. This not only gave it importance in economic terms but also on a sociocultural level. However, as a result of industrialisation, this textile technology moved from being manual work to being produced by machine.
The core part of the collection is attributed to Leopold Iklé (1838–1922), who successfully produced machine embroidery in St. Gallen around the turn of the 20th century. The handmade bobbin and needle lace served as a model for the textile designers in his company until he donated the collection to the Textilmuseum St. Gallen in 1904.
The supporting programme of the exhibition includes talks, workshops, and guided tours. An overview is listed here.