Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Lace gowns for royal christenings, weddings! Setting a table in a different way, too!

1908 Wedding gown of
French Valenciennes lace.
   Wearing lace has long been the sign of wealth. The English, French, Germans and Italians make some of the loveliest, but others do too. Made by hand, with use of a bobbin, or by machines, laces come in different quality, patterns and affordability.

   Some can be turned into gowns as in this wedding gown, 1908 of Ivory silk and satin with French Valenciennes lace to adorn it.
   Many laces are strong enough to be incorporated into sleepware as in this fine lawn nightgown of Valenciennes lace, circa 1880s.

   But babies wear lace, too! The recent christening of Prince Louis was the occasion for the British royal family to bring out its newest version of Honiton lace christening gown. The previous one, worn by Prince George and Princess Charlotte, has been retired, it seems, after use by 62 royal babies including Her Majesty.

   In French towns, such as Chantilly north of Paris in suburbs, lace was a favored business. The local aristocrats encouraged the production of lace and Louis XIV, XV and XVI wore it, used it and were criticized for doing so. The French even decreed that a table should be set, fork tines down, so that one's lace cuffs should not catch on them!
Fine lawn nightgown with French Valenciennes lace, circa 1880.
19th century Honiton lace collar and cuff
    Do note this picture of 19th century English Honiton lace collar and cuff. You can readily see how a fork might well catch on these and destroy not only your pristine attire, but also ruin your dining experience!

   Here a picture I took in the Chateau of Villandry where the table is set for dinner, 19th century period, fork down.

Fork down for dinner to preserve your lace cuffs!
The popularity of lace and patronage of the business came from aristocrats. In France, lace became a marker not only of wealth, but before and during the French Revolution, a sign of corruption and disdain for the masses. In the Reign of Terror, not only Marie Antoinette and her friends suffered from the guillotine. But the lacemakers of Chantilly were accused of treason and sent to their deaths. Only years later did Napoleon patronize the development of new lacemakers and sponsor their renewed influence and prosperity.
French Alençon needle lace of 1775.
1890 French Valenciennes lace Wedding gown.
If you love historicals and can't get enough fashion or art or Paris (!!!), I hope you will read my saga of THOSE NOTORIOUS AMERICANS series.  Here is Book 2, still only 99 cents!
Want to go to Opera Garnier?
Drink champagne at House of Worth?
Dance at Moulin de la Galette?
Live in Montmartre with a charming sculptor?
B&N: (digital)
B&N: (Print)