From Royal Mistresses to Today’s Couture

Before the era of ready-to-wear, how did fabrics become clothes that were made by tailors and seamstresses? This exhibition traces the evolution of fashions: By offering visitors a history of printed fabric patterns, from the Marquise de Pompadour to Christian Dior, the museum exhibits pieces that show the permanence of certain designs through the evolution of forms and clothing styles. Enjoy a look at fashion from a unique angle.



© Grégory Tachet


a history of floral motifs and textile design

This exhibition offers a journey through time, recounting the extraordinary history of flowers and textile design from the 18th century to the present day presenting examples from the museum’s extraordinary collections. The exhibition explores how the colors and fragrances of flowers inspired textiles patterns and motifs. The exhibition explores how draftsman, inspired by scientific expeditions, the rise of horticulture and fashion, copied after natural flowers and invented new floral motifs transferred their marvelous drawings to patterns for fabrics. By the twentieth century, designers effectively “staged” their flowers that were then copied by both artisanal and industrial manufactures. The exhibition is organized around three main themes; Natural Flowers and Ornamental Motifs, The Art of Representing Flowers, and Wearing Flowers.


Floral sample, roller copper and wood block printing on cotton, England, 1790

Fashion engraving “18th century dress”, Paris, Mulhouse, manufacture Steinbach, Koechlin & Cie, lithograph


Fabric for home furnishing, Alsace, Mulhouse, manufacture Boeringer-Zurcher & Co. 1903, printed with wood block on cotton



a  musical stroll in the Museum collection

with the partnership of André Manoukian

  27 october 2017 – 30th September 2018

2017 is a great  year for the Museum. TASCHEN, the famous  Artbook  publisher in the world, will publish a first book on the wealth collection of the Museum. This publication makes the textile heritage fund known on the international scene. The Museum has chosen this year to highlight its collections. The most rare and  striking part of it through a temporary exhibition dedicated to the treasures of the Museum…

The Museum chose for this exhibition to evolve between different heritage centers, the textile history and the rich funds for which it is responsible, but also the musical and instrumental heritage, by weaving many bridges between those two inheritances. To do this, the Museum has the honor to collaborate with one of the current and most emblematic composers André Manoukian who contributes to the exhibition signing a novel sound universe with the textile works presented. It is therefore to a musical stroll in a textile and exotic world to which the visitor is invited…

Tapis Moghol (detail), India,  Coromandel coast,  beginning of the 17th Century, painted and dyed canvas in cotton

André Manoukian by Roman Jehanno

Formes et couleurs

In printed fabrics from the 18th century to the present day

  11 November 2016 – 1st October 2017

The use of geometric shapes and colors aims at first to create a vocabulary understandable by all and usable in all areas. The grammar used allows infinite combinations but it is precisely in the simplicity of this one that its limits lie. The use of form and color seems within everyone’s reach but the results are as in writing, more or less successful level. Textile designers have played a pioneering role in the creative process through the use of form and color …


From Lanvin to Azzaro…The colorful couture

The most emblematic creations of 20th century haute couture designers take place at the Museum for a unique exhibition. From Loris AZZARO to Jean Charles de CASTELBAJAC, from Pierre Balmain to Franck Sorbier, there is a myriad of colorful, bold, daring stars that take their place in this sparkling constellation …

Pillowcase, Switzerland, publisher Bonjour of Switzerland, 1996, screen printing on cotton

© Azzaro – private collection

Histoires de femmes

The woman in textiles from the second half of the 18th century to the present day

6 November 2015 – 9 October 2016

The work of the woman has long remained invisible. As a wife and mother, her activity ends with the marriage. Companion of her husband, she often assists him in his agricultural, commercial, craft activities for which it is a free workforce: agriculture, trade, crafts. At the same time, many women work in services as domestic or in-store. Deprived of rights, they have no legal existence. In the 18th century, the manufacture of painted canvases will quickly highlight this female workforce and make their work visible ….

Impertinente by Chantal Thomass

Women being honored at the Museum of Printing on Fabrics, it was appropriate to celebrate one of the most famous French designers in the person of Chantal THOMASS. The famous seamstress invests the Museum for an unprecedented exhibition of creations specially selected by her in a signed staging made exclusively for this occasion …

Toile de Rouen “Les âges de la vie et les saisons”, France, Rouen around 1820, roller copper printing on cotton

© Chantal Thomass

Impressions du Soleil Levant

150 years of relations Alsace-Japan

7 November 2014 – 11 October 2015

2014 is the occasion to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the relations between Alsace and Japan, whose textile was one of the first areas of exchange. As early as 1864, Alsatian manufactures exported woolen muslin fabrics to the rising sun. The Museum  proposes on this occasion to trace this historical fresco through an exhibition devoted to the Japanese influence on the Alsatian textile …

Léonard Paris, L’Empire des Couleurs

As part of the exhibition “Impressions du Soleil Levant”, the Museum of Printing on Fabrics is honored to host the most Japanese of French couture houses: LEONARD, Paris, ambassador of excellence of Franco-Japanese relations. Decorated with the Order of the Rising Sun, golden rays in saltire, by the Emperor of Japan, Mr. Daniel TRIBOUILLARD, at the head of the Maison LEONARD invites us to share his passion for the Japanese ancestral culture constantly reinterpreted at through his creations …

Wood block printing on cotton,  Thierry Mieg factory, Mulhouse, Alsace around 1880

© Léonard Paris


Fashion and decoration under the Second Empire

8 November 2013  12 October 2014

The Second Empire (1852-1870) was a prosperous period in the textile field, both for clothing and for interior decoration. By their size and the overloading of their ornaments, ladies’ crinoline dresses compete with padded armchairs trimmed with trimmings. The collaboration between the Mulhouse Museum, a city that was one of the main textile production centers of the Second Empire, and the Château de Compiègne, the place of use of these fabrics, makes it possible to discuss issues of industrial development, boom of the trade, evolution of the feminine fashion or revolution of the interior decoration …

Promenade parisienne

In partnership with the “Conservatoire de la Maison Hermès” and the  Emile Hermès private Museum

The period of the Second Empire opened in France an era of prosperity and transformation in many areas. Paris, capital of fashion, becomes a point of attraction for all of Europe. The Imperial Festival attracts the financial and intellectual elite. Luxury shops, department stores, theaters, large hotels and restaurants are growing. It is this brilliant period that the Museum retraces in its exhibitions of the year. On this occasion, we invited the Hermès house to accompany us. Exceptionally, she agreed to open her Private Museum of 24 Faubourg Saint Honoré. Gathered by Emile Hermès (1871-1951), the collection includes many Second Empire objects …

Fabric for skirt with crinoline, France, unknown factory 1864-1868, wool and silk : fashioned with pattern of printed tiles available at the board

 “Promenade parisienne” exhibition

Un festin en Etoffes

“Gourmet fabrics” from the end of the 18th century to the present day

 9 November 2012 – 18 August 2013

The fabrics participate in a certain art of living. They embellish our daily lives and accompany our moments of life from birth. Flowers, stripes, character paintings, Indian or cashmere are the traditional attributes of this printed world. Some are the support of a more epicurean universe, and lead us to the sin of gluttony in a virtual world of sweet or savory temptations. The Museum of Impression has selected in its rich collection gourmet fabrics of different times and invites you to a gastronomic walk. On the menu, cooking classes on linen, salted, sweet and fine wine textiles, printed desserts, fruits from our orchards and pastries.

At the Prada table …

When everything is luxury, calm and pleasure …

This year again the Museum  can be proud to welcome in its walls a famous and prestigious haute couture Name : PRADA, Milan, and offers its visitors a gourmet walk, refined and luxurious. Considered to be one of the most influential designers in the world of fashion, Miuccia PRADA is at the head of this family-owned company founded by her grandfather in 1913. With slogans such as elegance, refinement and perfection PRADA is undeniably a reference in the world of luxury.

Home furnishing Gourmet, USA, New York, Brunschwirg & fils, 1993, screen plate printing on cotton

© Prada

Il était une fois…

The child and the printed fabric from 1750 to the present day

 10 November 2011 – 14 October 2012 

Childhood is a mythical and dreamed place that touches everyone, whatever their age, the deepest being. Through the rich collection of the Museum, the exhibition “Once upon a time …” invites to a walk through more than two centuries in the fabrics for children. Organized around staging of various places of childhood including objects of decorative art and furniture, the exhibition will explore, from the eighteenth century to today, the evolution of the shapes and patterns of these fabrics printed specifically for the child…

Il était une fois… Jean Charles de Castelbajac

“All my inspiration has always come from my childhood” Jean Charles de Castelbajac

As part of the exhibition “Il était une fois”, the Museum is particularly honored to welcome the famous fashion designer Jean Charles de Castelbajac, an essential personality linked to the world of childhood. Tangy colors, innocence and playful spirit, the clothes of the couturier are the reflection of his infinite interest for this theme. In a dedicated space, dressed with an original creation created for the Museum, the visitor is invited to penetrate in this universe, at the same time surprising, quirky and magical where he will rub the heroes of his childhood ( characters from Walt Disney, Little Prince, Teddy, Lego, etc.) …

Home furnishing, screen printing on cotton, Germany around 1950

© Jean Charles de Castelbajac

Rêves de Cachemire, cachemires de rêve

The printed shawl, an Alsatian textile jewel

 13 November 2009 – 16 October 2010

The cashmere shawl prevailed throughout the 19th century on European fashion. By the end of the 18th century, women in French high society used them in clothing and decoration. It is seen thrown on a chair, more rarely worn by women at the forefront of fashion, such as Madame de Torcy, beautifully painted by David in 1790. If in Europe the cashmere shawl is a purely feminine accessory, in India, his country original, it is reserved for men, who wear it in belt or turban ….

The creative dream of Christian Lacroix

From the elegant fantasies of Josephine, the cashmere has never ceased to inspire the creators and is a constant in the history of fashion. This motif, drawing contours sometimes exuberant, offers a means of expression to the extraordinary creativity of Christian Lacroix, who by tapping into a mix of culture constantly renews the genre. As part of the exhibition “Dream Cashmere”, the Museum, had the privilege of offering visitors the discovery of a space imagined and scenographed by Christian Lacroix presenting his finest achievements around this theme ….

Original design on paper (detail), Thierry Mieg factory, Mulhouse around 1850

© Christian Lacroix

Féerie indienne

Painted canvas from the shores of India to the kingdom of France

14 November 2008 – 3 May 2009

It is an invitation to travel, from the shores of India to the Kingdom of France that the Museum offers to visitors, discovering the mysterious textiles of India, their history and their technique manufacturing. Through a remarkable museography where ancient Indian painted canvas, with amazing colors of freshness and the decorative grammar of an elaborated exoticism, rub shoulders ship model, engravings, ceramics, specifying the geographical and historical context, the exhibition “Féerie indienne” proposes to return to the origins of the textile printing history. The most beautiful pieces and the most representative documents of this production were selected in the rich collections of the Museum  as well as the Museum of the East India Company of Lorient, having collaborated in the preparation of this exhibition…

The Hermes  Indian spirit

The Hermès Company, placed this year under the sign of the Indian Fantasies, has contributed to the exhibition “Féerie Indienne”. This exhibition presents silk squares including “Hunting in India” inspired by a silk thread embroidered from Benares, where the colors of spices mix in an Indian rhythm the animal, the plant and the sea. hunter man. Men’s and women’s ready-to-wear silhouettes reveal cashmere prints. The “Moghole Legend” silk square, a collection this year at Hermès, will also be in the spotlight. This square is directly inspired by one of the major works in the collection of the Mulhouse Museum “The Mughal carpet”. This painted canvas of the seventeenth century will be presented in parallel in the main exhibition. Hermès thus echoes this heritage through a current creation, carried out in its workshops …

Tropical flowers and palmtrees (detail), wood block printing on cotton, 1787, Jouy Manufacture Oberkampf

 Hermès exhibition