On lacy things

Runa Scott | 25 Mar 2018 - 14:20
On lacy things

A while ago, I was wandering the cobblestone streets of Bruges and found myself outside of a lace museum. I had to see this! They displayed samples of Belgian lace dating back centuries, and explained the decline of handmade lace since the invention of machines. I watched a small room full of women making bobbin lace, their fingers speedily dancing back and forth as the pattern magically appeared.

Since its early days, lace has always been a luxury. The frothy airiness of it, the utter delicateness. Lacy lingerie is similar in nature to that revealed-but-hidden sensuality of hosiery. No wonder they’re called “intimates.”

The more I have learned about lace, the more I’ve come to appreciated luxury lingerie brands and the exclusivity of their manufactured lace designs. While it’s extremely rare to find truly handmade laces these days, many high end companies still succeed in creating a handmade appearance. For example, ‘Chantilly’ (traditionally handmade bobbin lace made of silk) is a phrase you may see while perusing a shop. This has evolved over time to mean a floral design surrounded by a hexagonal tulle pattern — another key word would be ‘Leavers,’ the machine on which its made. You notice those tiny nubs of thread across the design? That means those were hand-trimmed as the pattern was made!

Lace styles like schiffli ( aka chemical) or macramé are more embroidery than lace, but still fall more on the handmade-style of machine laces than a Raschel, which is the most inexpensive and efficient means of lace production (and since when has the luxury industry ever been about cost-reduction or efficiency?).

The feel of featherlight lace against skin, the glimpse of an eyelash-scalloped brassiere under a silky blouse…those will always be arousing. But maybe this brief introduction will spark an even greater appreciation for this delicate garb.

[For more of my writings, check out my website's blog!]

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