Sunday, March 12, 2017
The Big Tease
Lace is a big tease - it both provokes and conceals. The women above are all "laced up" but they're not telling any secrets...except to each other. Today's lace is different - it's quintessentially feminine and very alluring. If you want to look girly - wear lace.
Most lace is made by machine these days, the design of which sometimes begins on a computer because lace artistry and other needle arts are not being handed down as much anymore. If I had more time, lace is definitely a subject I would explore - there are hundreds of books, mostly vintage, to help me along. Handmade lace requires painstaking work and a nimbleness to create. The bobbins and threads that artisans use to make this ancient textile are mind-boggling. A lace-maker is no klutz.
My grandmother made me a white eyelet lace dress when I was 13 and I loved it. I thought it made me look sexy and grown-up but I probably just looked chaste and virginal - my grandmother's creations were far more conservative than my mod 1968, Seventeen-Magazine-as-Bible self wanted. The only color in the shift was the tender green velvet ribbon that Nana wove through the waist and the embellishment of a lone golden daisy stitched where the ribbon joined. That dress stayed in my heart and the memory of it still has me trawling spring catalogs every year for eyelet blouses.
I do wonder how appropriate lace is for a woman of a certain age though. I wore an orchid-colored lace dress for my daughter's wedding almost two years ago but I'm not sure I would feel comfortable anymore in a pure white lace dress. I would however, embrace a crisp shell or bell-sleeved blouse, especially in eyelet.
So what is it about this textile that appeals? Is it the association with brides and matrimony? Babies in Christening dresses? Mostly, I think it's like the freshness you feel on the day you suddenly discover that spring came to stay. Lace is as unexpected and delightful as a breath of fresh air - accompanied by a jolt of sex-appeal. Or not.