A NEW TAKE ON LACE
Lace has become a humble hero in modern wedding gowns, adding texture and detail in an effortlessly elegant way. No matter the style of dress, it infallibly works to complement and elevate the design. Kirrily Ireland speaks with Kate Egan, owner of Ziva Wedding Dresses, to discover the various kinds of lace and how they can be effectively incorporated to help brides make a statement during their trip down the aisle.
Standing the test of time, lace has adorned wedding dresses across many evolving eras, nearly as traditional as the white gown itself. Despite being found on the gaudier numbers from the 80s and old-fashioned styles from even earlier periods, Egan assures brides that when utilised well on the right dress, this timelessly delicate material will never look outdated.
IT’S ALL IN THE [INTRICATE] DETAILS
There are numerous kinds of lace to choose from when it comes to your bridal ensemble, each type embodying a unique aesthetic. Whether you plan on having your gown custom-made, or you’re on the search for the perfect off-the-rack frock, it’s important to have a think about the theme and mood you’re going for first. This will help the designer or shop assistant decide which lace accent is the best fit.
For the traditional bride, Chantilly lace offers beautiful detail and designs. “One of the most popular options,” Egan says, “Chantilly lace is braided and twisted. Originally from Chantilly, France, it is a detailed lace and looks stunning on all different wedding dress designs. It is classy and traditional, often with a fringe hem.” On the more delicate side, embroidered lace is “tightly stitched onto an illusion base, which feels raised to the touch”. “There is also the option of beads or sequins being intertwined on a separate piece of tulle, which will create the depth and dimension,” Egan adds. Guipure lace is another variety that leans towards the traditional side, first appearing in the late 1500s, “a firm, stiff lace” in which “motif patterns are connected by bars or plaits”.
Knit lace and eyelet lace lend themselves to more contemporary styles of gown. Without the traditional tulle background, knit lace is far more flexible, and is a nice breathable option for the summer bride. “It is soft and figure-hugging,” Egan explains, “which is perfect for wedding dresses that are tight fitting to the body.” Eyelet lace, according to Egan, is ideal for a bohemian-style wedding, featuring little holes and circles. “It is a geometric lace and has a modern feel that is unique and steps away from the [more common] floral designs.”
Of all the many different types, Egan and her team have found that 3D lace has become the most popular over the last couple of years. “3D lace is a raised lace, often in flower form with small beading in the centre of flowers or leaves. It adds depth to a wedding gown and can be used throughout the whole of the dress, or applique.”
ALL ABOUT THAT LACE
Not only are there many different kinds of lace to choose from, but also a number of ways it can be applied – and again, this will change from bride to bride. If you’re not sure where to start, Egan says the most popular part of the gown to include lace is the bodice. “Often the bodice is fitted with some structure, therefore the lace can remain flat and smooth.” However, there’s no reason to feel restricted to one area. “There is really no place lace should not go,” the expert affirms.
You might love lace so much, it could be the star feature of your dress, covering every inch of fabric. “In the wedding dress industry there is no such thing as OTT!” Egan says. “However, for the bride that would like a refined full-lace coverage, we would recommend an eyelet or knit lace. Both are gentle blends that are suited [to] a full-lace gown.”
If you’re fond of lace but want a simpler look, you might “choose to have a small amount of lace down an illusion sleeve”. This ‘illusion’ effect can be created elsewhere, too, such as the neckline or back. “An illusion back with lace creates a look that the lace is ‘magically’ attached to the back,” Egan explains. “It is a beautiful feature. Also adding a small amount of lace throughout the gown with handsewn beading is a gorgeous option.” The possibilities are endless, fusing elegance and style no matter what you choose.
When incorporating lacy elements into your bridal ensemble, consider the other elements as well, and how they’ll work to tie the full look together. Aside from eyelet and knit, most lace requires another fabric for application, and some fabrics work better than others. “Satin is one of the most popular choices when working with lace,” Egan says. “It is a flat and smooth fabric, with just enough thickness to hold the lace in place.” Soft tulle can also be used if you’re considering lace applique.
Certain accessories will complement your laced-up gown too, the most obvious being the veil, where lace accents can make appearance along the hem. “If a bride has chosen a design with a high neck lace, a small pair of earrings, like tear drops, [or] anything understanded would work best,” Egan adds. “If you have chosen a full-lace gown, keep your accessories to a minimum.”
The final thing to consider is handling your gown with proper care; lace can be very delicate, and the last thing any bride wants is a tear in their precious dress before the wedding day. “Be careful that your rings, fingernails and jewellery do not get caught or snag the lace on your dress,” Egan warns brides-to-be. “Obviously when you are handling your dress, have clean hands or even bridal gloves on. Keep your dress stored in a breathable dress bag, away from any pets that may be interested in what is in the bag!”
With its flexible uses and different patterns and varieties available, lace can offer something unique to every individual bride-to-be; there is proof enough in the beautiful, lacy wedding gowns found today, and delighted over in the past. Speaking with your designer to see how you can incorporate this timeless trend into your own special frock will lend itself to creating something truly timeless.
Photo by Lorena Rabbani