My Wedding - - FASHION - By Anita Turner-Wil­liams

If you love lace, you're not alone. This fem­i­nine fab­ric has a his­tory that is thought to date back to the early six­teenth cen­tury. Be­cause lace evolved from so many tech­niques, it's hard to say where it orig­i­nated, but Venice was where the first lace pat­tern books were printed around 1550. By the 1600's, lace was be­ing made across Europe in­clud­ing France and Eng­land.

Once the fab­ric of no­ble­men and roy­alty, of­ten woven with gold or sil­ver, the pop­u­lar­ity of lace spread, spurred on by the in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion. By the late 1800's, vir­tu­ally all laces were ma­chine made and it wasn't long be­fore hand­made lace pro­duc­tion had vir­tu­ally dis­ap­peared.

Lace and the roy­als, es­pe­cially royal wed­dings, go hand-in-hand. Queen Vic­to­ria was of­ten seen draped in lace from head to toe. The Span­ish also love lace, and man­til­las are worn in a range of colours. Let's not for­get Grace Kelly whose lace veil and sleeves had women across the globe rac­ing to fol­low suit. Prada's use of lace in their 2008/9 Col­lec­tion started a lace re­nais­sance that has yet to wane, as ev­i­denced by the Sarah Bur­ton for McQueen dress worn by Kate Middleton on her wed­ding day.

There was a time when Vinka her­self used to im­port di­rectly, and whole­sale a fab­u­lous range of lace. She made reg­u­lar trips to Europe, some­times tak­ing me with her, to visit some of the top tex­tile and lace houses in the world. Times have changed, how­ever, with the mar­ket shrink­ing and much of the world's man­u­fac­tur­ing be­ing done in bulk in Asia.

De­sign­ers in New Zealand are lucky to still see the best of what Europe and the world has to of­fer, with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from some of ma­jor tex­tile houses vis­it­ing us a few times a year to tempt us with an amaz­ing ar­ray of sam­ples from their lat­est col­lec­tions. We or­der and the laces are made! Some of the Euro­pean laces are beaded in Asia, sim­ply to keep the costs down.

Luck­ily we have some very ta­lented im­porters based in NZ who de­velop and pro­duce a beau­ti­ful range of laces through Asia, giv­ing us more op­tions at very rea­son­able prices. Brides have never had it so good - so much choice and qual­ity!

You don't choose lace be­cause it's French, English or Ital­ian, or that mat­ter Chi­nese, or Amer­i­can; rather for the sub­tle fin­ishes and ef­fects that each lace pro­vides. Beaded or not beaded is another con­sid­er­a­tion, and only the bride knows what she's happy with.

The funny thing is many of the lace de­signs we see to­day are the same as what was on of­fer back in the early 20th Cen­tury. It's highly likely your Nana could have had the same lace! The dif­fer­ence now is that we have op­tions, not just in the de­sign of the lace, but also how the lace is de­vel­oped, whether or not it's beaded, and with what, corded, and colours. No won­der the love af­fair with lace con­tin­ues!

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