Musée Mode & Dentelle

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in Grand Place & Îlot Sacré

Lace making in Bruges, 2014. The intricate lace patterns in Belgium are unmatched in any other country. The lace trade rose during the early Renaissance. Emperor Charles V decreed that lace-making should be a compulsory skill for girls in convents and beguines throughout Flanders. Lace became fashionable on collars and cuffs for both sexes. Trade reached a peak in the 18th century. Lace makers are traditionally women. Hundreds of craftswomen still work in Bruges and Brussels, centres of bobbin lace, creating intricate work by hand, often using over 100 threads per bobbin. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

UIG via Getty Images

Lace making has been one of Flanders’ finest crafts since the 16th century. While kloskant (bobbin lace) originated in Bruges, naaldkant (needlepoint lace) was developed in Italy but was predominantly made in Brussels. This excellent museum reveals lace’s applications for underwear and outerwear over the centuries, as well as displaying other luxury textiles in beautifully presented exhibitions. There's a new focus here on Belgium's ahead-of-the-curve fashion industry, with changing exhibitions of contemporary textiles.