#04 the unruly
Yes we cancan!
Paris in the late 19th century is the world capital of art, fashion, entertainment and representation in all its forms. In this society of the spectacle, fashion rises fully to the level of an art.
Democratized, mechanical lace enters the wardrobe of all social categories. Leavers looms allow for the reproduction at-will of hand-patterned laces and the production of lace ruffles and the so-called Valenciennes, which are readily fixed onto society ladies’ skirts, but also onto those of can-can dancers!
Amongst the quintessential stars of the French can-can, La Goulue (Louise Weber, 1866-1929) flouts convention and braves interdiction by daring to pose nude for the painters and photographers of Montmartre, such as Auguste Renoir and Achille Delmaet who produce “aesthetic nudes.” Working at the Moulin Rouge from 1890 to 1895, impetuous, she seduces all of Paris during French can-can sessions, frenzied dances in which she swirls her frilly petticoats and her footwork reveals alluring lace ruffles. Like the infinite reproduction of motifs in the mechanical lace, it is thanks to the posters of Toulouse Lautrec printed in series that La Goulue becomes, by the multiplication of her image, a global icon.