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The Magic of Cuir Bouilli: from Armour to Haute Couture

Start Date 07 October 2023
End Date 31 March 2024
Venue Shoe Quarter
Location Waalwijk, Netherlands

The Old Norman term cuir bouilli, literally translatable as cooked leather, remains a mystery. It refers to a technique in which normally flexible leather is transformed into a rigid and waterproof material. There is no trace of the original recipe, although three ingredients are certain: vegetable-tanned leather, water and heating. The result is a tremendously strong material originally used for protective functions. In a journey through time, this exhibition will try to unravel the mystery of cuir bouilli. Starting with the origins of this technique to then end in present times where the technique has been given a second life in design and fashion. The exhibition will lead you from medieval armour, through Dutch Design to wet-formed leather creations in haute couture. It’s time to get acquainted with the magic of cuir bouilli.