Our love affair with lace is a timeless one indeed. So what exactly is the story of this openwork fabric, created with a needle and single or multiple threads?

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Historians have found it difficult to trace the origin of lace to any one city. The first known lace pattern books, such as “Le Pompe“, were printed in Venice in the 1550s. Also seeing how it was an important trading centre, Venice certainly acted as a hub for the spread of lace knowledge. However, in 1485 the Flemish painter Hans Memling painted lace on the garment of the worshipping priest clothed in purple in his painting “Virgin with Child”. Despite this early rendering of lace, the rapid development of this fabric happened in the late 1500s. It became dominant in both fashion as well as home décor. It was used to enhance the beauty of collars and cuffs. Lace was also a part of the vestments of the clergy in religious Catholic Church ceremonies.

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In the 16th century, lace came into widespread use in the northwestern part of the European continent. The in the 19th century, missionaries spread the knowledge of lace making to the Native American tribes. In fact, St. John Francis Regis became known as the Patron Saint of lace making because he helped many country girls by establishing them in the lace making and embroidery trade.

 

Today lace has become this dreamy fabric that is synonymous with everything romantic in nature. Its delicate qualities evoke visions of feminine elegance that have inspired many renowned fashion designers around the world. When thinking of lace, there are a few renowned designers, from the Middle East in particular, that immediately come to mind: Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, and Charbel Zoe. These celebrity fashion designers have been using lace to create some magnificent evening wear and bridal designs.

 

 

Elie Saab is a prominent fashion designer that has demonstrated his love for lace through his haute couture designs. This self-taught designer, works with fine materials and delicate embroideries with outstanding quality. He has dressed some of Hollywood’s finest, namely Jennifer Lopez, Emma Stone and Taylor Swift to name a few. Elie Saab’s lace designs are not limited to evening gowns. He has also designed some of the most elegant lace wedding gowns.

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The next designer whose love for lace is quite evident is Zuhair Murad. He is a designer who was born in Lebanon and later moved to Paris, France to pursue a career in fashion. Beyoncé Knowles, Ivanka Trump, Kerry Washington and Miley Cyrus are just a few of the celebrities that have donned his gorgeous evening wear, but his bridal collection is where lace really shines most. He is known to have created some really original lace wedding dresses that serve to highlight the feminine figure.

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Last, but certainly not least, is up and coming fashion designer Charbel Zoe. His passion for fashion has led him to work for several international and Lebanese fashion houses, including Givenchy and Elie Saab. In 2013, Charbel received the “International Fashion Designer of the Year 2013” award at the Miami Fashion Week. His success translated into many international celebrities endorsing his fashion line, most notable of which being the diva Haifa Wehbe, the first Arab celebrity to wear his creations. Known for his fashion forward designs, Charbel Zoe’s use of lace is at the forefront of his bridal collection. This rising fashion talent’s designs are anything but traditional.

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Fashion forward or not, no matter how many haute couture pieces these designers create, there is no denying the perfect marriage created when incorporating lace into bridal wear. However, it certainly  doesn’t end there. Over the years, not only has lace infiltrated fashion apparel such as shoes and purses, but it has also become popular in event decor when creating a romantic, vintage ambiance for a couple’s wedding ceremony and wedding reception. Lace could be incorporated into almost all aspects of a wedding, bridal shower, or any other private function.

Lace could even be incorporated at the initial stages of event planning. The design of event invitations could be customized with touches of lace. Envelopes could also entirely be cut into lace patterns, creating lace envelopes.

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Even the smallest detail like the stem of the bridal bouquet could be embellished with white lace. An elegant touch that adds just the right amount of romance and perfectly complements a bride’s dress.

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Of course there are bigger ways of incorporating lace into event decor such as an elegantly draped backdrop at a wedding reception. A backdrop of white lace with bold, yet elegant, accents of strings of pearl, like in the photo below, would serve as the perfect focal point for a couple looking to create a vintage decor theme at their reception.

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Where there is a beautifully draped lace backdrop at a wedding reception, there will also be an equally elegant head table, and of course cake table, to match. It makes the entire decor look that much more complete. When incorporated into wedding reception decor, lace lends a classic, romantic touch to the overall decor design theme.

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Let’s not forget the star at the centre of every one of the beautifully decorated guest tables: Centrepieces. Brides love creating unique centrepieces because they are simply very customizable and can be made to bring any theme to life at an event. Needless to say, this holds true for a lace inspired decor theme as well.

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Did you also know that there is a type of baby’s breath that is called Queen Anne’s Lace? What a perfectly feminine and romantic name! The floral plant itself is so delicate and elegant; certainly reminiscent of the qualities of lace.

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Not only can lace now be found in a variety of colours, but it also has definitely proven to be quite a versatile fabric. From its early origins and use as part of the church clergy’s robes in the 1500s, to its modern day incorporation into fashion and haute couture bridal wear, elegant wedding decor and florals; and even naming a type of baby’s breath after it. All this has only served to cement the notion that we most certainly have a love affair with lace that not only is timeless, but that just continues to grow and evolve with the times.