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The Re-Invention of Lace by Prada

Miuccia Prada stated she was inspired to make lace the cornerstone of her Fall/Winter '08 collection because it was a fabric which followed women throughout their lives. While this might have been true in the era of glory boxes and linens, until Prada and besides the occassional itchy lingerie set, lace had actually become more and more irrelevant in the majority of young, urban women's lives. The intracacy and detail with which lace has to be made in order to look classic and chic does not lend itself to the need for mass-produced cheap fabric for chain store tat. Case in point - the guipure lace featured in Prada's collection comes from the historic lace-making town of St Gallen, Switzerland. Until the emissaries of Prada rolled into town, St Gallen's lace production had trickled to a halt.

Now, lace has come back into its own, touted by many magazines as this season's big "trend". In fact, it is a prime example of how designers take shamelessly from the past in their search for inspiration and for your hard-earned cash. Lesser-skilled designers will do no more than replicate and slightly refine. But visionaries will re-invent, modernise, and twist to make the past contemporary in order to subvert its past connotations. In other words, they make the past redolent of the present. Prada achieved this in the St Gallen lace collection through the use of guipure lace rather than more traditional lace types. The density and structure of guipure allowed the silhoutte to be structured and futuristic rather than lace's traditional drape and flow. The skin gleaming through the gaps in the fabric also lent it a very contemporary sensuality as opposed to the blatant sexuality in lingerie. The refined colour palette of black, tan, and the occasional umber orange reined back the novelty factor. This has become one of the most featured and photographed collections of 2008. And in my opinion, rightly so.

For more reading on St Gallen's guipure lace and the Prada Fall/Winter 2008 collection, read this very interesting article, Playing the Lace Card by Alix Browne in the New York Times here.

♥ White lace dress is thrifted ♥ Pink lace top thrifted is thrifted ♥ Tan lace purse is vintage ♥ Black heels from Mi Piaci ♥ Chains from Diva

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