Silhouettes en Dentelle


Mal Burkinshaw
University of Edinburgh


Portfolio, Practice Based, fashion, dress history


Silhouettes en Dentelle is a series of eight transparent tailored jackets, designed by Burkinshaw. The jackets were made in response to historic ideals of beauty presented in the collection of Renaissance portraits at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Burkinshaw’s research explores the ways in which contemporary fashion design can learn from changing historical perceptions of body-image and ideals of beauty. Challenging normative approaches to design by directly addressing questions of gender and body shape through design and production process, it invests fashion design to stimulate discussion around contemporary issues of diversity within the fashion industry – an industry that has historically been notoriously impervious to diversity.
The work was the centrepiece of the exhibition Beauty by Design; Fashioning the Renaissance at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (2014–15), the first exhibition of contemporary fashion design to be held there. The exhibition was initiated through The Diversity Network, a UK- wide research network addressing diversity in fashion practice, that was established in 2011 by Burkinshaw in collaboration with Professor Caryn Franklin, a renowned Fashion Commentator and co-founder of All Walks Beyond the Catwalk. The exhibition was a major public success, receiving over 146,000 visitors, and has initiated reassessment by the gallery of its curatorial and educational strategies. Silhouettes en Dentelle was expanded and invited for inclusion in several international exhibitions at prestigious venues: The International Centre for Lace and Fashion, Calais, France (September 2016 – March 2017); The Bonnington Gallery, Nottingham, England (February – April 2018); The Shanghai Museum of Textiles and Costume, Shanghai, China (April – July 2018); Venice Design 2019 as part of the Venice Biennale, Italy (May – December 2019).

Supporting Agencies:


Download data is not yet available.



28 May 2024


Additional Copyright Information:

All text in this portfolio is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. This means you are free to share and adapt this content provided you give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. All images in this portfolio are All Rights Reserved. This means the authors retain copyright over original work and it is not permitted to copy or redistribute these images.


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.