Style Fashion > Womens Trends > Style finds its dual personality Date posted: November 26, 2009

Style finds its dual personality

Women, as we all know are complex characters and therefore attempting to find something, anything that will suit our varying moods, is not an easy task. As fashion idols such as French Vogue’s Carine Roitfeld, Madonna, Lady Gaga and Penelope Cruz have been seen sporting lace pieces from Dolce & Gabbana’s forthcoming spring/summer 2010 collection – Swide takes a moment to consider, what it is that makes women fall in love with lace.

Love affairs in general are not always known for their transparency – but this is is one romance that is quite literally see-though and with longevity. Through style’s history, icons such as Marilyn Monroe, Rita Heyworth and Audrey Hepburn have fallen for lace’s seductive charms – and yet fast forward to 2009 and there’s another set of icons on the fashion block.

Actress Rita Hayworth: Lace in all its forms has intrigued women and their wardrobes over the years.

Women such as Lady Gaga, Madonna, Penelope Cruz, Gossip Girl’s Taylor Momsen and French Vogue Editor Carine Roitfeld have been spotted out and about sporting lace pieces (click here to see) and here at Swide we wondered what exactly it was that united Gossip Girl’s Taylor Momsen with actress Rita Hayworth?

Dolce & Gabbana‘s fall/winter 2009 collection featured lace in many variations and was inspired by Mediterranean women.

Could the answer be literally be black and white?

Penelope Cruz in a black Dolce & Gabbana Italian lace dress from their 2010 cruise collection.

The history of the English word lace follows closely the development of the fabric in Italy. Before the sixteenth century, lace meant fringes and trimmings, and cord and tape lacings. The word itself is actually derived from the Latin laqueus, meaning loop or noose and there is still debate between Italy and Belgium as to the fabric’s country of origin.

In the 17th and 18th century lace was a sign of prestige and wealth, and was among the most valued possessions listed in people’s wills and was actually taxed. In the mid-17th century, lace-makers were able to overcome the traditional difficulty in working with hard-to-see black threads (it wasn’t uncommon for lace-makers actually to actually go blind weaving the fine threads) and the distinctive, sexy and Mediterranean black lace came into existence and women had the opportunity to express their faced personalities.

The lace maker by Jan Vermeer

Jerry Hall, perhaps the original Texan supermodel is often quoted as saying, “My mother said it was simple to keep a man, you must be a maid in the living room, a cook in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom (she actually went on to add wisely “I said I’d hire the other two and take care of the bedroom bit”) – but what the quote does highlight is the many sides to being a woman – and perhaps lace’s enduring quality.

Black lace symbolises seduction, sophistication, wealth and style whereas white lace has more of a virginal, modest quality. Whether you want to vamp it up or play the Virgin Mary (and we could debate all day as to which is the more attractive look) – lace is the perfect way to showcase the two sides, whilst still looking hot to trot.

Dolce & Gabbana’s spring summer 2010 white lace styled with black corsets underneath.

So colour obviously plays a part in lace’s seduction – but what of its transparency? Is it part of the pull? Or is there something altogether more subconscious current running through people’s minds?

Gossip Girl’s Taylor Momsen at NY’s New Moon screening last week.

In our current culture bored of outright luxury – lace as a historical precious fabric is an item that one can wear and showcase their mood, without the bling connotations. It’s similar to gold experiencing its current revival as diamonds lose their sparkle in these more muted times. It’s handcrafted, it’s precious, it’s an heirloom piece – it conjures up heritage and perhaps after the bloated fast fashion rush – it’s exactly what we all need.

The enduring style icon Audrey Hepburn in a black lace dress

Source: The Guardian and Dolce & Gabbana

Photo Credits: Getty, Dolce & Gabbana, Dennis Valle (backstage)

Text: Kerry Olsen




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