Dentelle de Calais - Mythical French lace

Dentelle de calais used at NUDIAA silk

The Dentelle de Calais-Caudry® label - proof of authenticity
Mythical lace which has been produced for two hundred years

The new Dentelle de Calais-Caudry® label, replacing the Dentelle de Calais® one, specifies the historic sites of production in its new name. It guarantees the excellence of this traditional, luxurious lace woven in France exclusively on Leavers looms since its origins, in world-renowned lace mills in Calais and Caudry.

Dentelle de Calais at Nudiaa
Dentelle de Calais-Caudry® is the label of an iconic lace, the stuff of dreams with its beautiful craftsmanship and timeless glamour. The lace is inherently linked with French chic, elegance and femininity and talented designers use its sublime beauty and transparency to show off the body’s curves and delicate skin. With infinite possibilities, it lends itself to creativity in design and decoration sprinkling enchantment on everything it touches.

Haute Couture Lace

At the beginning of the 20th century, manufactured Leavers lace progressively took over from hand-made lace which it had succeeded in imitating so perfectly. This was concurrent with the birth of Haute Couture. Designers such as Worth, Doucet, Paul Poiret or the Callot sisters used it more and more often to decorate afternoon and evening dresses, whilst the fashion for lace in the highly decorated belle epoque clothing also engendered a high demand.

In the 20s and 30s the lace was much in demand for its patterns, colours, delicacy and transparency in contrast to other materials available at the time.

Haute Dentelle" Exhibition at The Museum of Lace and Fashion in Calais |  SENATUS 

Beyoncé a fait dans la dentelle de Calais-Caudry aux MTV Video Music Awards

After a period of decline when lace was considered old-fashioned, new designers emerged during the last quarter of the 20th century such as Thierry Mugler, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood, Christian Lacroix and then Franck Sorbier, Elie Saab, Eymeric Francois, Fred Sathal etc…. who rediscovered its spectacular design potential which they exploited reinventing, layerering and revamping it in a sophisticated baroque effusion which swept over the highly mediatised fashion shows.


In the 1960s Ready-to-Wear collections appeared and with them a new generation of designers inventing a whole new style with its own identity, bringing fashion which had been previously elitist to a wider public. At the beginning of the 1980s luxury Ready-to-Wear collections were developed, produced in particular by a new wave of designers and in ranges of internationally famous fashion houses. Leavers lace from Calais and Caudry took pride of place, being used in multiple ways, constantly interacting with other materials, in a spirit of couture which delighted women and showed-off their femininity. Amongst the fashion designers Chantal Thomass was one of the avant-garde who launched the inside-out trend showing lace pieces with a lingerie feeling at her Ready-to-Wear shows.

Ermanno Scervino lace construction midi dress


Ermanno Scervino - 2023


Although lingerie in the sense of underwear appeared in the 19th century it wasn’t until the first half of the 20th century that women’s underwear as we now know it appeared when corsets were replaced by bras (developed by Cadolle), girdles and suspenders, and slips.

In the 1950s the use of rayon, then nylon, combined with the use of rubber followed by latex brought comfort and ease of use for control-wear corsetry, and crease-resistant negligees and nightwear. These items were produced in pastel colours and decorated with Leavers lace from Calais and Caudry and provided a sophistication and refinement which marked a turning point during these years. Scandale, Warner, Playtex, Chantelle, Aubade, Lejaby… were the pioneers.



After the 1960s and 70s where the fashion was for a minimalist, transparent, seamless, nude look (Huit), the beginning of the 1980s was marked by a nostalgia for a retro feminine look and saw the return of suspenders, corsets, basques… and luxury materials such as Calais-Caudry lace, silk and embroidery. Innovative stylists such as Chantal Thomass heralded in a new era, adopting the inside-out trend which is still popular today.

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