Ines Di Santo Couture Bridal Collection Alecon Lace Fall Winter 2010-11Model walks the runway in an Ethany Dress - Cameo pink sheath with sweetheart neckline in Alencon lace overaly and reembroidered florettes trailing to hem. Dress features a detachable lace train, by Ines Di Santo, for her Ines Di Santo Couture Bridal Collection Fall/Winter 2010/2011 fashion show, during New York Bridal Week Fall 2010.
Fashion's new fabric obsession Alecon Lace
The great lace conspiracy that so many designers have woven around us this winter - Giorgio Armani, Alexander McQueen, Derek Lam, Proenza Scheduler, Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli, Givenchy and, most of all, Prada - is deliciously contradictory: It's old yet new, salacious yet square. It's the peekaboo prudishness of lace - especially at Prada - that makes it a sartorial statement.
While lace is the comeback story of the season in fashion, it has been a slowly burgeoning motif in the industrial-design world of home furnishings. Designers like Philippe Stark, Marcel Wanders and Tord Boontje have been flirting with cut-outs and crochet for the past few years, interpreting lace in materials suited more for automobile trim than for satin undies. A Stark bestseller, for example, was last year's Miss Lacy, a stainless-steel chair with cut-out flower patterns. Dutch designer Wanders showed the epoxy Crochet Chair and Crochet Light Table in 2006. Boontje, who has designed for Habitat and Target, dreamed up a die-cut Tyke lamp called Midsummer in 2004 and Until Dawn, a Tyke lace curtain.
"Lace appeared as part of household items, like bed covers and curtains, as early as the Renaissance, and since the Industrial Revolution it has become available to a larger percentage of the population," say curators Hilary Jay and Carla Bednar. "Today, lace is in free fall, finding its way into every conceivable form, from side tables and chairs to lighting and buildings." Jay and Bednar are part of a trio of curators at work on Lace in Translation, an exhibition produced by The Design Center at Philadelphia University that opens next year. The exhibition will showcase artworks and installations inspired by The Design Center's lace archives but transposed into distinctly unexpected media, like old, rusted wheelbarrows and chain-link fences. We are far from the racy world of Prada and Victoria's Secret here.
Cal Lane, another artist in the show, is a Canadian based in New York who has been making lace-inspired work out of garden shovels, oil drums and beat-up cars for the past 10 years. A hairdresser-cum-welder-cum-sculptor, Lane clearly has a taste for improbable mixes. "I was cleaning up the metal shop one day and, as a joke, put real lace doilies on top of the equipment after I cleaned it," she explains. "Visually, I liked the contrast of materials: the clean, delicate white lace draped over dirty, cold steel machines." Lane started out making industrial doilies, using a gas flame to cut delicate patterns out of inch-thick steel plates; then she copied her parents' lace tablecloth onto a wheelbarrow, cutting out the pattern with a plasma cutter. "I went to the lace museum in Belgium and saw how it is made," she explains. "I was attracted to the focus and repetitive motion of the work - much like welding and cutting. I began to learn the patterns and techniques of lace making through welding."