September is New York Textile Month!

Did you know? September is New York Textile Month! One of the reasons I launched Entrechat Dance was to indulge my love of fine laces, including my very favorite, American-made leavers laces.

White Lise Leavers Lace Pointe Shoe Bag
White Lise Leavers Lace Pointe Shoe Bag

Leavers laces are made on Leavers machines, which are a remnant of the industrial revolution. Leavers laces are widely recognized as the finest-quality, most luxurious machine-made laces available. New Leavers machines haven't been manufactured in a century, so the few remaining mills that produce these gorgeous laces are very special and rare. Every machine has been maintained, repaired, and kept running by dedicated, highly-skilled textile workers, who make incredibly beautiful and intricate lace fabrics and trims. Because these machines are products of Victorian technology, the designs are programmed in using a series of punch cards—jacquard looms and lace machines were some of the very first computers!

Klauber Lace Leavers Machine (Photograph courtesy of Klauber Brothers)
Klauber Lace Leavers Machine (Photograph courtesy of Klauber Brothers)

The way that leavers laces are created is unique—unlike knit or woven textiles, in Leavers Laces, hundreds of individual bobbins interlace whisper fine yarns to create gorgeous patterns, mimicking the technique used to make handmade bobbin laces, but on an industrial scale.

Klauber Leavers Lace
Klauber Leavers Lace

There are a just few Leavers lace mills remaining in France's lace capital, Calais, and there is one remaining leavers lace mill stateside, right nearby in Rhode Island! All of the leavers laces used in Entrechat Dance's designs come from this small, family-run New England textile mill. It's my small, small way of helping to draw attention to this incredible art.

-Larissa

Once Upon a Dream: Fairy Tale Fashion

I recently had the pleasure of viewing the Museum at FIT's latest exhibition, Fairy Tale Fashion, curated by Colleen Hill. The beautiful and inspiring show is organized thematically with gorgeously designed vignettes for each fairy tale. The experience was totally immersive—you take the stairs down into the special exhibition gallery, read and view a few items that explain the premise, open the main gallery doors, and enter the fairy tale world the museum created. As you follow the path through the exhibition, you're surrounded by beautiful and evocative fairy tale music from ballets and films, and the mannequin displays are complemented with appropriate film clips (including Moira Shearer dancing in The Red Shoes!) and theatrical displays (including a "glass" coffin for Snow White).

And the clothes! Some of my favorite items were the 18th century robe à la française in a "beastly" leopard patterned silk in the Beauty and the Beast display, the Charles James Swan gown (of course), and a stunning Marchesa tulle gown, that evokes Sleeping Beauty's nightgown.

Fairy Tale Fashion exchibition catalog by Colleen Hill
Fairy Tale Fashion exchibition catalog by Colleen Hill

The accompanying exhibition catalogue by Colleen Hill is gorgeous, well-researched, well-written, and even includes an incredible essay about ballet and fashion by Patricia Mears.

The show is only up until April 16, so if you're anywhere near New York City, you do not want to miss it. If you're not in the area, definitely check out the virtual exhibition online.

Fairy Tale Fashion

The Museum at FIT

ADMISSION to exhibitions is FREE.

Seventh Avenue at 27 Street New York City 10001-5992 Information: 212 217.4558

HOURS Tues - Fri Noon - 8pm Saturday 10am - 5pm Closed Sundays, Mondays, and legal holidays.