This season we've introduced lace to our dresses Betsy and Ida.
Our new lace collars are pretty special. The lace is made in England and comes from a 9th(!) generation family-run business, that has specilised in intricate and unique cotton lace designs for the past 150 years.
HISTORY OF LACE MAKING
It is believed that lace was being made and worn as far back as the early sixteenth century. It was first made in Venice but its popularity meant that production quickly spread to other European countries - notably Spain, France and England.
Perhaps the most influential uses of lace in early costume appear in the portraits of Elizabeth I. Elizabeth's iconic lace collars not only frame her face, rather like a halo, but they are also a visual declaration of her enormous wealth. Such instricate and delicate lace would (and still does) cost a pretty penny so to wear it in such abundance (along with her pearl and jewel embellished dress) was a way of demonstrating Elizabeth's status and power.
HOW LACE IS MADE
Originally, lace would have been made entirely by hand - either with a needle and single thread or with multiple threads (as above). As you can imagine, it would have taken an incredibly long time to produce made it a luxury item, available only to the very wealthy.
Lace was made by women and girls as young as 9. Working conditions would have been poor and it was not uncommen for women to turn blind from the constant strain of the close work.
The industrial revolution mechanised the production of lace and by 1900 the handmade lace industry had all but disappeared. Machine production made it possible for lace to be worn by the middle classes.
In recent years, prouduction of lace in England has suffered at the hands over cheaper overseas competitors. Fewer and fewer producers remain in the UK, with only the very best managing to maintain business. We are delighted to be working with and supporting the British lace industry with our new lace collars!
Lace collars were popular in the 1930s and it is from there that we sought inspiration for our AW19 collection. We chose two lace designs this season. The first is found on our Ida dress and is geometric in style to complement the Art Deco style of Cinematic Serenade print. The second, a more floral design compliments the Cabaret print on Betsy dress.
Both laces that we used are made from 100% cotton and add a really special vintage touch that we're loving!