The Costumer's Manifesto: 18th Century Lace
18th Century Lace
Text by Tara Maginnis,with Plates From
and other sources. Please do not copy the Broderbund Photos in this page.
Lace enjoyed a popularity in the Rococo periodunprecedented in history. Where the wearing of lace during the 17th Century was restrictedby law to the nobility, and during the 19th Century, by custom, to women, its use knew nosuch bounds during most of the 18th Century.
Anyone who could possibly afford to, wore lace as a statussymbol. The more money, the more lace.
"Alencon" lace was considered the most elegantand aristocratic, due to its rarity and high cost. Brussels, Mechlin and Binche laces werevery popular until the 1750s when they were eclipsed by Valenciennes lace and Blondelace. Locally produced bobbin and needle laces were patronized by the middle and upperclasses for non-court wear, and so thelocality of a patron might predetermine the lace he used for informal occasions.
Lace patterns of the early 18th Century tend toward theheavy simple patterns of the previous century. Laces become lighter and visibly morecomplex in pattern as time wore on.
During the 1720s, patterns were separated by atranslucent ground of increasing size.
In the 1730s and 40s, the ground was itselfpatterned with different dot patterns known as "modes."
Laces continued to become lighter with more ground and lesspattern.
After the mid 1760s, lace patterns declined andquantity of simple lace became more desired than quality.
Lace continued to get lighter, cheaper, and lessfashionable for the rest of the century, going out of style for men by the 1790s andhigh fashion women by 1800. Late 18th Century lace was regaled to the underground ofwomens lingerie where it stayed, and transformed from a status symbol into an eroticaccessory for women
The History of Underclothes The History of Underclothes
Corsets and Crinolines Corsets and Crinolines