Fash­ion Busi­ness

The race for lace: S/S '19

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Af­ter decades of wear­ing tight-fit­ted and su­per con­stricted cloth­ing, fash­ion is mov­ing to­wards sim­plic­ity. A fo­cus on ma­te­ri­als, func­tion­al­ity and com­fort is be­com­ing a key trend. In­ter­est­ingly, this move­ment is tak­ing place at the same time as the de­vel­op­ment of max­i­mal­ist agen­das of vi­sion­ary de­sign di­rec­tors like Gucci’s Alessan­dro Michele.

In ad­di­tion to this, the young fash­ion con­sumer is also wak­ing up to a new­found love and ap­pre­ci­a­tion of hand­work and deca­dent de­tail­ing that re­minds them of a sim­pler time. Need­less to say, fash­ion is go­ing through a pe­riod of very op­pos­ing forces tug­ging at ev­ery end as winds of change make their way into the in­dus­try’s age-old sys­tem of trends.

Laces, with their or­nate in­tri­cacy and hap­tic ap­peal, have al­ways en­joyed a good mar­ket and the new trend for ‘slow fash­ion’ is only go­ing to pro­pel this de­mand fur­ther ahead. As sev­eral brands take a sec­ond look at their archives, the small ap­pli­ca­tion of laces to con­tem­po­rary sil­hou­ettes is be­com­ing com­mon­place. The main fac­tor con­tribut­ing to the pop­u­lar­ity of laces is that it can eas­ily aug­ment a Plain Jane gar­ment and im­bue a hint of lux­ury to it. While em­broi­dery may be go­ing for a slightly down­ward spiral for

Spring 2019 col­lec­tions at least, prod­uct de­vel­op­ment teams are us­ing lace as a value adding re­place­ment to fill this gap.

Wide Port­fo­lio

of De­mand

From eclec­tic patch­work and crafty trims to Ja­cobean mo­tifs, de­sign im­prove­ments in the seg­ment range far and wide de­pend­ing on the brand pro­file and de­mo­graphic for which one – man­u­fac­tures. How­ever, one thing that’s clear is laces are not be­ing used that widely as an ap­pli­ca­tor of the erst­while ro­coco or rus­tic baroque mood. The lace trend go­ing for­ward has more to do with a boho, es­capist and global trav­eller outlook.

Ac­cord­ing to Tanuj Goel of ATM Ex­ports that sup­plies laces, trims, etc. and has even set up a gar­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing unit now, though growth is sta­ble, the mar­ket for laces has grown highly com­pet­i­tive. This has forced buy­ers to get ex­tremely cre­ative in de­sign­ing strate­gic place­ments and pick­ing up dif­fer­ent styles to cre­ate value. Goel adds that com­pared to the last few years, there has been a huge up­surge in orig­i­nal­ity and since every­one is look­ing for some­thing dif­fer­ent, there is no set di­rec­tional trend in the mar­ket. How­ever, the tech­nique that is be­ing touted as the biggest trend of the mo­ment is Schif­fli. Cor­rob­o­rat­ing this de­mand is Sumesh Jain of K Gian Chand & Co., who adds that ma­chine em­broi­dered laces that come with some re­laxed tex­tures like Schif­fli/ Eyelet in cot­ton as well as del­i­cate pat­terns tightly stitched onto il­lu­sion bases have a strong mar­ket pres­ence at the mo­ment.

Also pop­u­lar are chem­i­cal laces, which al­lows ex­ten­sive use of lace in even dif­fi­cult areas of ap­pli­ca­tion, as the tech­nique es­sen­tially in­volves em­broi­der­ing lace onto a cloth back­ing that is later dis­solved in a chem­i­cal bath. It is be­ing widely used for tops, dresses and even home fur­nish­ing prod­ucts.

De­sign­ers on the run­way are em­ploy­ing lace in un­ex­pected colours like pitch black or scream­ing reds and the sup­pli­ers also agree with the same. Goel fur­ther elab­o­rated that any colour that is trend­ing in nor­mal gar­ments is a colour we are see­ing the de­mand for in laces. So, for Spring 2019, there are a lot of pastels like laven­der or sub­dued yel­low that are sell­ing well.

How­ever, Rakesh Gupta of Vako­rns Em­broi­dery em­pha­sises that there is no par­tic­u­lar lace tech­nique or pat­tern that could be called a di­rec­tion, or a defin­ing trend. What are do­ing well are the all-over ba­sics and ma­chine- made laces as well as com­fort­able knit laces that pro­vide agility and con­tour with the body eas­ily.

Per­fect­ing The

High-Low Mix

The over­ar­ch­ing trend in the gar­ment in­dus­try cur­rently re­volves around func­tion­al­ity and laces are some­what the op­po­site of that. Nonethe­less, the fan­dom of the trend thrives due to the fact a tiny piece of lace can serve as a per­fect fem­i­nine con­trast to a lot of

Lace, with its or­nate in­tri­cacy and hap­tic ap­peal, sits ex­tremely well with the ‘slow fash­ion’ move­ment as it can eas­ily add a hint of lux­ury to any ba­sic gar­ment. The lace trend is now mov­ing away from its erst­while ro­coco vibes and go­ing to­wards a more bo­hemian and global trav­eller outlook.

hy­per mas­cu­line sil­hou­ettes. Apart from this, lace also gives an il­lu­sion of high-end to gar­ments that need not be very ex­pen­sive.

De­sign­ers who have been work­ing with lace sea­son to sea­son are now play­ing with pro­por­tion and vol­ume, cre­at­ing un­usual sil­hou­ettes that pre­vent the ma­te­rial from ap­pear­ing too pretty and fem­i­nine.

Hints of the sportswear move­ment are also not sep­a­rated from lace as de­sign­ers are us­ing lace edg­ing on sporty parkas and bomber jack­ets. In In­dia, ATM Ex­ports has started ex­per­i­ment­ing with Ly­cra in laces. Even though the per­cent­age of Ly­cra be­ing used is al­most neg­li­gi­ble, it is mak­ing a huge dif­fer­ence in tak­ing the gen­tle fab­ric and gives it more stretch for ac­tive cloth­ing. In ap­pear­ance, the stretch­able lace looks no dif­fer­ent from a nor­mal one but in prac­tice, it is more func­tional and durable.

As the mass mar­ket pulls away from over-em­bel­lish­ment, silk or sim­ply metal­lic-hued lace fab­rics are be­com­ing the go to op­tion for de­sign­ers go­ing out out­fits. Bring­ing a bit of bold in the midst of all the el­e­gance, even fly away beads and hang­ing pal­lets on plain bases are ex­tremely pop­u­lar on the run­way for party dresses. It is the year to shimmy and de­sign­ers are mak­ing gar­ments that look good in mo­tion while not look­ing too heavy duty at the same time.

Cen­tral Sto­ries

for Lace Lovers

An im­por­tant un­der­writer for why every­one stays lace-ob­sessed all year in both high-street and the run­ways is be­cause of its rel­e­vance in fes­ti­val fash­ion. Even though fes­tivewear saw an in­flux of sportswear this year, no fes­tive edit can be com­plete with­out the DIY ap­peal of cro­cheted wraps and bustier blouses. In gen­eral, the bo­hemian, hip­pie-like trend that has a very ‘bor­rowed from your grandma’ vibe is an im­por­tant theme for S/S 2019 col­lec­tions.

Not sur­pris­ingly, flo­rals con­tinue to dom­i­nate the mar­ket when it comes to mo­tifs. While not news to any­one, the flower power trend is go­ing larger than life in the com­ing sea­son and the pat­tern is not used as a place­ment but mostly in its all-over bravura. An­other main­stream trend that sits well with de­sign­ers look­ing to use lace is de­con­struc­tion. In the opin­ion of Shreya Parashar, Se­nior De­signer at Rad­nik Ex­ports, em­bel­lish­ments are not re­ally in trend for her mar­ket (Ger­many and EU) and even em­broi­deries are not in­ter­est­ing their buy­ers any­more. This is where laces are hit­ting a soft spot. Rad­nik’s team is plac­ing laces us­ing the presently pop­u­lar ‘cut and sew’ method or in some cases they are cut­ting a patch and just us­ing it as a yoke place­ment.

Lace is be­ing used as mod­esty patches in places where a gar­ment might have a racy cut-out but insert­ing a lace panel is keep­ing the gar­ment from go­ing far away on the mod­esty front. Sim­i­larly, lacy sheer fab­rics are a run­way and bridal mar­ket hit. The en­tirety of bridal col­lec­tions was dot­ted with more risqué neck­lines and translu­cent em­broi­dered fab­rics cre­at­ing a fierce fem­i­nine vibe. All in all, with con­ser­va­tive fash­ion be­ing a huge fash­ion trend at the mo­ment, the net­like ap­peal of lacy fab­rics is per­fect for the oc­ca­sion.

Mai­son Margiela

An­to­nio Mar­ras

Donna Mor­gan

Bottega Veneta

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