From Queen Elizabeth I to Louis Vuitton - Five Centuries of Lace

From a baby’s Christening to Paris Fashion Week, lace in its many guises has become an essential and beautiful feature of a vast array of garments. With infinitely possible colours, patterns and embellishments, this luxury fabric has, for centuries, been used to decorate clothing in an astonishing number of ways.

Although fine nets and openly woven fabrics can be traced back much further, the material we know today as lace first came to prominence in the early part of the sixteenth century. As it evolved from a variety of techniques, there is no real way to say lacemaking originated in any particular place although Venice was the first real city to have its name associated with the rapidly-growing product. The first pattern books were printed in this important European trading hub and spread quickly around the continent.

The production of lace has always been driven by changing trends and fashions through the years. The stiff ruffs and collars of the late 1500’s, requiring bold geometric patterns, gave way in the early part of the seventeenth century to softer collars and narrower linen lace. An increasing demand for gold and silver lace for edging gloves and other accessories accompanied this transition. Raised and flowing needlelace was created in the middle of the seventeenth century as the skill became more refined, a precursor to the explosion in incredibly detailed and intricate lace that became and remained popular throughout the 1800s.

The Guardian newspaper recently published an enlightening article-in-pictures on the history of lace in fashion, which Bridal Fabrics wish to share. The pictures, dating from Elizabethan times to the present day, detail an enchanting journey through the beautiful ways lace has been and continues to be worn through the centuries. You can visit the site at

Bridal fabrics supply a comprehensive range of lace and accessories including bridal lace and lace appliqué. Our bespoke dyeing service means any colour can be chosen and we also supply the increasingly-popular black lace. This is in addition to our large stock of wedding dress material, brocade fabric and embellishments. Enjoy the history of lace in pictures and if you feel inspired, please contact a member of our dedicated team for further advice and information.

For more information then please call us today on 01254 873333 or email