Fashion trend: Lace

Archana Achal | Updated on November 23, 2011

Burberry Nude ready to wear lace trench   -  BUSINESS LINE

Toniq Fuschia bag   -  BUSINESS LINE

Metro boot   -  BUSINESS LINE

Frank Tell collection at Signature Premier International Fashion Tour   -  BUSINESS LINE

Kevin O'Brian collection at Signature Premier International Fashion Tour   -  BUSINESS LINE

French Connection   -  BUSINESS LINE

Frank Tell lace collection   -  BUSINESS LINE

Zoya LAce collection   -  BUSINESS LINE

Tarun Tahiliani for Timex   -  BUSINESS LINE

A fabric that was once considered old world, lace has made a big comeback and is taking the fashion world by storm. Take a look at this must-have material with ARCHANA ACHAL

Does the word ‘lace' conjure up images of grandma's faintly-scented vintage handkerchiefs and old-school doilies? Well it's time to think again. Lace is making an impact on the runways of the world in fun and surprising ways. From high-fashion houses to small-time street stores, everyone is jumping on to the lace-loving bandwagon. Lace has always been associated with luxury and this delicate fabric has shown surprising strength lately in creating and sustaining interest.

Traditional take

Trying to count the types of lace available today can cause sight panic, as almost each region in Europe produces its unique form or at least pattern of fabric. But the one thing common to all is the value of the lace produced. Creating lace takes great skill, both in understanding the technique involved and in designing the motif or pattern. It is in knowing the time taken to create even a few inches of lace and the skill level required that elevates lace to the level of a luxurious fabric.

In terms of material used, lace from the early centuries featured gold and silk threads. Gold lace is quite popular today for the subtle shine it bestows on dresses. Sometimes, silk threads dipped in gold are used instead. One can also pick lace made out of high-quality cotton or spun linen, Battenberg lace which is stitched onto a satin background and adorned with beads or Blonde lace which is made using fine silk fibres. Chantilly lace, made of silk and known for its distinctive and heavily-outlined floral designs on a fine mesh is soft to the touch.

Most people think instinctively of Brussels for high-quality lace, as Brussels lace is quite delicate and skill-intensive, made of fine spun linen with parts of the fabric made separately and then joined together. The island of Burano near Venice is famous for its lace as well which is fine to touch and made using the needlepoint technique. For those who fancy French lace, it has to be beautiful Alençon all the way. Alençon features a fine mesh background with outlined motifs and decorative loops. Truly luxurious Alençon lace will also carry a fine fringe of threads along its edge.

Lace can be made using the needlepoint or bobbin technique, knitting and even by dissolving the base material on which the lace is stitched (this style being called Giupure lace).

Lacey looks

Most of the fashion shows this season, from New York to Paris, heard the soft swish of lacey skirts floating down the runway. Lace has always been associated with fine lingerie, the softness of the fabric making for luxurious innerwear. But lace, usually reserved for innerwear, made its foray into the world of outerwear at the fall 2011 and spring 2012 shows. Dresses made of pastel-coloured lace, billowing in style but cinched in at the waist were a major part of most designs. Valentino featured a stylishly-fitted dress in butter yellow, simply accessorised with a skinny belt. Skirts of all lengths and some even layered with different coloured lace added a new twist to plain-Jane white or cream lace, like Miu Miu's A-line skirt in layered steel and beige lace, along with fly-away capes in deep plum. A modern take on an old classic came with Burberry's nude lace trench coat for this autumn.

A good tip if you are looking to join the trend is “Simple silhouettes work best for pieces featuring lace”. One must remember never to overdo the trend for fear of looking dowdy. A single strong piece is enough to make a statement.

A hint of lace

Accessories featuring lace are also popular this season. Pick up a pair of stilettos covered in black lace on a light coloured muted gold or silver background like those made by Colin Stuart for Victoria's Secret. They are sure to add feminine appeal to your evening outfit. For more colour, you can carry a clutch fitted out in lace of bright red or purple with your little black dress. Boots highlighted with just a little lace string can be your thing if you like understated elegance.

Even watch brands are creating dainty pieces using lace, like Tarun Tahiliani's watch for Timex embellished with precious stones on a fabric base of woven lace for the straps.

Lace has so far been the go-to fabric for designers who wish to create pieces that look elegant, feminine and classic. But give the vintage styles a miss for modern interpretations of this centuries-old textile.


Published on November 23, 2011

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