LOVE AND LACE : History & Icons
  “As children, my sister and I used to make fun of my mother’s wedding veil, a traditional cathedral-length Mantilla lace veil. She assures us quite proudly that it was at the height of fashion in the 80’s—and a mandate from my very Roman Catholic grandmother. I look at that lace veil now and wistfully regret the fact that I’m a full 8 inches taller than my mother. However, I do know that when my time comes, I want a full-sleeved lace gown as a nod to my mother, my history, my family, and lace’s bind to love. Why is lacejt82xjnbhf07351189021562252 associated with love? Perhaps it is because it originated in Venice. Maybe it comes from Queen Victoria’s decision to don a wedding dress of endless white handmade lace. Certainly, its peek-a-boo quality adds a layer of sensuality to its virginal overtones.
Before the invention of machines, lace was an intensely laborious process reserved for purchase by only the incredibly wealthy.  It was first developed in Venice in the 15th century, and early pieces—grand chalice covers, vestments and altar embellishments—were made almost solely by nuns over the course of many hours. The two processes of making lace – point lace, in which the sewer embroiders intricate geometric patterns with a single needle and thread, and bobbin lace  where multiple threads are wound around a bobbin in a complex pattern – eventually took root in Holland, Germany, Belgium, Ireland and England. Both required intense commitment. It was a symbol of love to have lace – someone cared immensely for you.
The lace of royalty, from Victoria to Grace Kelly, still  is relevant – the Chantilly, Duchesse, Spanish laces of the past. Now, there are also reinvented laces as seen in the perpetually romantic and ethereal laces of Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino, and Erdem. These designers are able to capture the simplicity in the beauty of something so complex and are doing it in gorgeous textural mixes on skirts, dresses, and jackets. Lace is delicate, fragile, virginal –yet worn in a modern and sensual way on fashion runways and city streets.
My favoritcontemporary lace image? Vanessa Traina in her perfect, Ricardo Tisci for Givenchy designed wedding dress,  based on a Frida Kalo-inspired couture collection from 2010. She looks divine – modern and timeless, innocent and sexy, covered and exposed – all ready for a life with artist, Max Snow. Perhaps this dress will have a life after its sanctified stroll down the aisle, serving as a muse for tomorrow’s artist, a haunting source of unexpected irony. “
~Lauren Finney

Lauren Finney is a writer and stylist living in New York City.

February 2013