Décrayonner Exhibition Cité Dentelle Mode





From april 1 to november 13, 2016


135 quai du Commerce – 62100 Calais
T. + 33 (0)3 21 00 42 30 –


Every day except Tuesdays from 10 am to 6 pm.
(10am to 5pm from the 1st of November to the 31st of March)

Closed on 1st May.


exhibition on the creations of Anne Valérie Hash, an iconic fashion designer on the French scene, one of
the few fashion houses to receive the prestigious Haute Couture label. This exhibition – the first
dedicated to her in France – takes a look at her first 13 years of designing. It is not so much a
retrospective as an exploration of a world still under construction. Over a sensitively designed visitor
pathway, approximately one hundred models, unique garments, videos and exclusive documents reveal a
stylistic vocabulary and offer an analysis of the creative process. With the exception of loans from the
Palais Galliera – Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris, the pieces originate from the personal archives
of the Maison Anne Valérie Hash.


by Anne-Claire Laronde, director of the Museum of lace and fashion


TO INVITE ANNE VALÉRIE HASH and her fashion house to exhibit at the Museum of lace and
fashion in Calais is to open the museum’s doors to a fashion designer who is an authoritative figure in
her field. Although Anne Valérie Hash is an emerging designer for the general public who are
(re)discovering her in her new guise , she is nevertheless an established reference among her peers. A
virtuoso of the destructured cut, she has spent more than 10 years reinventing a feminine wardrobe that
tears up the codes of gender. Borrowing the basics from tailors for men, she deconstructs men’s fashion
in order to create a women’s fashion. The sophistication
and nobility in terms of know-how are expressed without grandiloquence. Wools and cottons rub shoulders
with silks and tulles, the purity of the fabrics converses with embroideries

AMONG HER FAVORITE FABRIC Anne Valérie Hash used woven lace, that jewel of the
industrial textile heritage of Europe. To invite her to present the entirety of her work as applied to
the lace collections is also to blazon the extent of the possibilities to which this noble material
lends itself. Bare backs, androgynous jumpsuits, asymmetrical dresses, light blouses and
retro-reflective tops, Anne Valérie Hash plays with customs to offer pieces in which
the delicacy of the lace is employed subtly and coherently. Her garments confirm her to be a fine
connoisseur and admirer of this complex material, one of the few designers to truly master the variety
of functions this little-understood textile is able to fulfil. Although not the primary subject of the
exhibition, a number of the pieces on show demonstrate this virtuosity. Evidence of this very special

Décrayonner Anne Valérie Hash

by Sylvie Marot (extract from the exhibition catalogue)


DÉCRAYONNER, a lexical invention parading as a title? The question to be asked is not:
does this verb exist? But rather: Is it possible to create this verb? And if so, what meaning should be
assigned to it? (…) If the verb “crayonner” instils an idea of rapidity and immediacy, the addition of
the prefix to construct “décrayonner” would appear to suggest a notion of slowness and postponement.
Detail would appear to be set against the broad line. Above all, the reversibility of the gesture would
appear to be similar to the cinematographic process of reverse motion. “Décrayonner” exploits this
special effect in order to understand the ploy. (…) Makes the attempt, at least.

THE EXHIBITION Décrayonner details the creative act of a dressmaker who does not tackle
her stitching work with a pencil but rather with scissors and needle. This will not involve drawings,
sketches or drafts, but garments and fabrics and patterns. And where drawn lines do exist, these are
executed instead in tailor’s chalk. (…)


THE COUTURE of Anne Valérie Hash initially lies in her “découtures”. In her
straightforward and fringed cuts, one discerns a taste for the unfinished, the trace of tearing in the
non-hemming. Her raw,even deliberately frayed edges constitute a dotted frontier between textile and
skin. This guipure stitch, this non finito, makes room for jacket edges and controlled
inlaying. The prismatic laces of «Pause» (summer 2014 collection) are the perfect
illustration of this.

TAKEN APART AND RE-CONSTRUCTED, unstitched and restitched, intentionally uneven, every
garment is observed through the detail. No matter the twisting of the fabric, the disorganisation of the
patterns,the multiplication of the elements, it is a question of creating balance from the preexisting
imbalance. Couture is the domain of the artist hand as much as the artisan
hand. Its luxury consists in taking the time to undo and to redo.


ANNE VALÉRIE HASH questions the material nature of cloth. The cotton canvas and dry wool
of male suits are married with tulles and silk chiffons. Sequins and embroideries intensify the mattness
of the fabrics. The liquid effect of ultra-light organzas, the fluid effect of silk jerseys. Laces,
vintage or new,are blended together in complex multi-layers or are set against technical fabrics. To
weigh the depths of time, to project oneself into an accelerated future, it is the same thing.

HER CHROMATIC RANGE concentrates on blacks and ivories, washed colours and fleshes. The
black and white photographs of Michelangelo di Battista, the disturbing lighting of Bettina Rheims or
the powdered tones of Fabrice Laroche, appear to fix this selective colorimetry. In the charcoal wools
and antique laces, the sepia patina can be seen. (…) And yet, vivid colours burst through over time. But
more than colour, it is light that makes its entrance. The white
light of retro-reflective fabrics, the rainbowhued light of iridescent fabrics. Finally, in the
undulation of walking the pleats and drapes never tire of playing with shadows.


DEFINITELY,, Anne Valérie Hash stitches the irreconcilable and weaves in opposites. She
balances the notions of modernity and of tradition. She unbalances symmetries and volumes. Anne Valérie
Hash brings opposites together without adversity. And she undoubtedly moves towards femininity.

The Journey


THE INTRODUCTORY PHASE of the exhibition takes place in the light-filled atmosphere of
an atelier. The visitor is greeted by about ten cloths placed on dressmaker’s dummies. The cloth is a
three-dimensional garment prototype. This dimensionalising of the basic pattern allows
for adjustments on the body. Once the paper pattern has been altered, the garment can
be constructed in the chosen fabric(s). The finishings (embroideries, appliqués) will
follow. On these griege cotton cloths, one can discern traces of tailor’s chalk, coloured
felt-tip pen, all indications of adjustments. These items, «working documents», are
rarely retained much less exhibited. These canvas cloths are garment drafts.


FEELING the fabric in the absence of being able to touch it (the fragility of the
fabrics prevents this). The absence of glass display cases marks the desire for proximity to the
garments. The intention is to reduce the distance between the garment as designed to be worn and the
article of clothing in its temporary guise as a museum exhibit. But above all, emphasis is placed on the
materiality of the fabrics. Black cases set off the garments simply. The titles are partially written in
chalk on school blackboards. There is nothing ostentatious about the art of Anne Valérie Hash. The
visitor is invited to focus on details. The challenge
is to perceive the intelligence of the styling behind a certain sobriety in the materials.


From the very first piece – a dress made from a pair of men’s trousers – to the very last – a suit in
lace and reflective fabric – a style asserts itself. The exhibition follows a chromatic course from
darkness towards the light. Within the 500m2 permanent exhibition space, the pathway is organised into
four key themes and thirteen stylistic sub-themes. These thirteen ensembles break from the chronology in
order to concentrate on the stylistic vocabulary. Verbs that express the gesture, that specify
the action or its consequence.

Crédits photos : Fabrice Laroche // www.fabricelaroche.com