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Threads of Power: Lace from the Textilmuseum St. Gallen


Emma Cormack and Michele Majer,  editors

Featured in The New York Times Best Art Books of 2022

Tracing the history of lace in fashion from its sixteenth-century origins to the present, Threads of Power: Lace from the Textilmuseum St. Gallen offers a look at one of the world’s finest collections of historical lace. The book explores the longstanding connections between lace and status, addressing styles in lace worn at royal courts, including Habsburg Spain and Bourbon France, as well as lace worn by the elite ruling classes and Indigenous peoples in the Spanish Americas. Featuring new research, the publication covers a range of topics related to lace production, lace in fashion and portraiture, lace revivals, the mechanization of the lace industries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and contemporary innovations in lace. With a focus on lace techniques, women lace makers, and lace as a signifier of wealth and power, this richly illustrated book includes wide-ranging contributions by curators and experts from major museums and academic institutions.

The exhibition Threads of Power is on view at Bard Graduate Center Gallery from September 16, 2022 through January 1, 2023. 


Table of Contents

Director's Foreword
Susan Weber

Editor's Note

Emma Cormack and Michele Majer

The Emergence of Lace in Early Modern Europe

1. Lace and Status: Luxury, Power, and Control in Early Modernity
Barbara Karl

2. Putting a Name to Lace: Fashion, Fame, and the Production of Printed Textile Pattern Books
Femke Speelberg

3. "Monstrous" Ruffs and Elegant Trimmings: Lace and Lacemaking in Early Modern Italy
Paula Hohti 

4. Antwerp, A Center of Lace Making and Lace Dealing, 1550-1750
Frieda Sorber

Lace in Spain and the Americas, 1500-1800

5. The Triumph of Lace: Spanish Portraiture of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
Amalia Descalzo Lorenzo

6. "A desire of being distinguished by an elegant dress is universal": Clothing, Status and Convenience in Eighteenth Century Spanish America
Mariselle Meléndez

7. A Prodigious Excess: Lace in New Spain and Peru, ca. 1600-1800
James Middleton

8. "Covered in much fine lace": Dress in the Viceroyalty of New Granada
Laura Beltrán-Rubio

The Dominance of France, 1660-1790

9. Lace and Economy under Louis XIV
Denis Bruna

10. Lace à la Mode, ca. 1690-1790
Lesley Miller

Mechanization and Revivalism: The Nineteenth Century Lace Industries

11. Fashion and the Lace Industries in France, Belgium, and England, 1800-1900
Emma Cormack and Michele Majer

12. Ahead of the Curve: A. Blackbourne & Co. and the Late-Nineteenth Century British Lace Industry
Annabel Bonnin Talbot

13. Italy to New York: Making Historic Textiles Modern at the Scoula d'Industrie Italiane
Emily Zilber

14. Imitation and Inspiration: The Leopold Iklé Collection in St. Gallen
Anne Wanner-JeanRichard and Ilona Kos

Innovations in Lace, 1900 to Today

15. Fashion and Lace since 1900
Catherine Örmen

16. Lace in St. Gallen Today: Tradition and Innovation at Forster Rohner and Jakob Schlaepfer
Introduction by Annina Dosch, Interview with Tobias Forster, Hans Schreiber, and Martin Leuthold

Illustrated Checklist of the Exhibition

Compiled by Kenna Libes





2.00 LBS

Other Details


Page Count
432 | illustrated throughout

Publication date
September 2022

Hardcover: paper over board