One of the most traditional of wedding fabrics, lace has the ability to look both retro and modern, but it always looks romantic. Lace is an openwork fabric that originated in the late 15th century and once it was made available to the masses, it never lost its popularity; in fact it just seems to be gaining ground.
The most desirable wedding laces are Alencon, Chantilly, Guipure and Venise lace. Most laces today are actually machine-made, as the hand-making process is long and arduous. While many gowns with lace can have an old-world feeling, lace can also look very fresh and forward. It all depends on how designers use the fabric.
Because lace is open and literally full of holes, most laces are layered over other materials. Lace is equally beautiful draped on soft chiffons or tulles as it is when it's layered over duchess satins and organza.
French Chantilly lace is the lightest of lace. Extremely fragile, this lace is best as an all-over layered slip gown and as sleeves and trim. Heavier lace like Alencon, which has a corded outline on the pattern, has more structure and looks fabulous on ball gowns and more substantial dresses. Lace also makes its way onto shoes, veils, gloves and light, filmy shrugs.
Some of the prettiest lace dresses this season were from Oscar de la Renta, with his sexy, full-on skinny guipure lace column and tiny matching bolero; Romona Keveza's romantic, off the shoulder mermaid in cream, scalloped-edge lace with three-dimensional appliques; and Vera Wang's modern tulle strapless ball gown with giant patches of ivory lace appliqued in a random abstract pattern.
Sexy and demure at the same time, brides will always show their true grace, in lace.