After its heady rise to fashionable status during the 16th century, lace has continued to be highly-prized right up to the present day. Not only used as wedding dress material, the delicate fabric can be found everywhere from haute couture catwalks to small, independent boutiques and everywhere inbetween.
During much of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, all lace was made by hand. The labour-intensive process meant that making an extravagant lace ruff, for example, could take a lacemaker an entire year to complete, using over 40 yards of lace. This made the fabric understandably expensive and so many women began to make their own; the skill of lacemaking was considered an important attribute for a woman.
The industrial revolution saw the development of lace making machines which heralded the oncoming of more affordable lace. Another explosion in popularity occurred because of the new availability of the fabric, causing ever more extravagant and unique designs to be created. The trend continued unabated all over the world, with France becoming and continuing to be one of the main sources of lace in Europe, closely followed by the UK.
Although lace has continued to evolve, a current trend is looking back rather than forward. Vintage lace is being seen more and more as brides decide to opt for a look that brings to mind the glamour, allure and mystery of the past. During the 1930's, the modern idea of a 'white wedding' began to form. The white wedding dress was popularised earlier than this by Queen Victoria but it was from 1930 onwards that manufacturers began to make dresses specifically for brides.