The Early 20th-Century Dresses in Irish Lace: From Fashion Past to Fashion Future
Not surprisingly, Nataya’s dresses are considered the perfect examples of taste and grace in lace tulles and other fabrics worn in the past days and epochs. In fact, we haven’t hidden the fact that most of Nataya’s dresses are inspired by the very beginning of the 20th century. Back then, poets immortalized feminine grace, charm and mystic flair in their masterpieces. The bud-shaped hats of those days looked just like graceful flowers. As we have mentioned before, all fabrics Nataya uses for her classic dresses are chosen to represent the image of ladies from the early 20th century. Silk, tulle and lace were extra popular both for casual styles and evening gowns. Dresses, blouses and umbrellas made of Irish crochet lace were likewise especially popular. Actually, Irish crochet lace was invented not in the early 20th century but in the early 16th century. It used to be called “nun’s work” because this fabric was made by nuns in Catholic monasteries. Thanks to Mademoiselle Riego de la Branchardiere (the daughter of a Spanish noble lord and an Irish lady), Irish crotchet lace was introduced to the world. This lady was mad about Venice lace, and she invented a new lace style in crotchet. The basic motifs of Irish crotchet lace were flowers, leaves and insects. The basic material for Irish crotchet lace was cotton, which was fairly cheap in those days and easy to clean. By the way, the bolero was also extra popular during those days. It was first used as the shawl for evening promenades. Needless to say, most boleros were made in Irish crotchet. In order to make true Irish crotchet lace, ladies used the tiniest crotchets. Sometimes, whole families produced a single lace set. The different crotchet moments, such as gardens and insects, were united using a special veil. Sometimes families chose only a single motif for crocheting. Some families crocheted leaves, some crotcheted flowers and some crocheted insects. The way each family crotcheted a particular ornament was the true tradition of the family. Unfortunately, many interesting samples were lost. But there are still some we may make ourselves. During the potato famine days, Irish crotchet lace was the only income source for many families. Shamrocks, flowers, fly-dragons and grapes were taken from starving villages to ladies who made high-society costumes. These laces were used for collars, blouses and even lingerie. Moreover, these pieces of Irish art became popular not only in Great Britain but also far abroad. Significantly, Irish crochet lace helped many families survive. Unfortunately for many starving families, machine-manufactured laces appeared in the mid 1850s. New laces became far more affordable than traditional handmade lace, which did not go down in price. Thanks to Queen Victoria, however, handmade lace became extra popular again in the late 19th century. The queen loved handmade lace, especially Irish crotchet. In 1904, many fashion designers or couturiers, as they were called in those days, used Irish crotchet lace for their crème-de-la-crème apparel. They attached laces onto colorful fabrics. Most of the designers made their dresses single-colored—in other words, the base fabric and Irish crotchet lace were both the same color. However, in addition to ivory and white laces, some ladies who made lace by hand used ecru-colored threads to produce Irish lace.
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