What is the Calais-Caudry lace worn by Beyoncé, paying homage in spite of herself to the North of France?

Beyoncé on stage, during her Renaissance World Tour, in a Dolce & Gabbana dress. Splash News / Splash News/ABACA

In early September, during her concert in Los Angeles, Beyoncé wore a Dolce & Gabbana dress made from Calais-Caudry lace. Thus shining the spotlight on very French know-how.

An entire French commune is puffing out its chest. As part of a concert on her Renaissance World Tour in early September, American superstar Beyoncé appeared on stage in a black Dolce & Gabbana dress. The detail of the garment that did not fail to attract attention? Calais-Caudry lace, an internationally recognized material. A fashion choice which caused a reaction from Solstiss, the northern company behind the manufacture of this lace. “Very happy to see our lace worn by the talented Beyoncé,” she expressed in a Facebook post. Already in 2016, during the MTV Video Music Awards ceremony, the 42-year-old singer highlighted this lace by wearing a white dress.

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“The soul of French chic”

“Intimately linked to the soul of French chic, it is inseparable from elegance and femininity, sublimating under the talent of the creators, the curves of the body, as if in transparency the delicacy of the skin”, we read on the official Calais-Caudry lace website. The history of this labeled lace took shape in the 19th century, giving rise to its two historic birthplaces, first Calais, then Caudry. Result: Nord-Pas-de-Calais has become the flagship region for lace production. It is also in Calais that we find the Cité Internationale de la lace et de la mode, and the Museum of Lace and Embroidery in Caudry.

A promise of excellence, the “Calais-Caudry lace” label certifies that it is made on Leavers looms, “according to an original process of interweaving threads resulting from bicentennial know-how”, specifies the site official. What makes it unique? The Jacquard weaving technique which, in 1837, perfected the Leavers machines. From this date, it is now possible to adorn plain tulle backgrounds with patterns. Nothing like it, therefore, to produce a lace which perfectly imitates that made with a bobbin by hand. Today, 80% of Leavers machines are concentrated in Calais and Caudry.

From Beyoncé to Marilyn Monroe

Beyoncé is not the only celebrity who enjoys draping herself in this sartorial art. At her wedding in 2011, Kate Middleton wore a dress made from lace from the Sophie Hallette house based in Caudry. Three years later, it was Amal Clooney who honored luxurious lace during her wedding to George Clooney. Same thing for Michelle Obama who, one Easter Sunday in 2009, relied on this know-how in a Caudry lace dress. A fame that does not date from today. As proof, Marilyn Monroe, in 1953, for the premiere of the film How to marry a millionaire, She too was tempted by a strapless dress… in Caudry lace.

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