Designers that use antique lace are few and far between; almost all of them appear to be corsetieres (which is hardly surprising given how fragile this lace can be: it needs a sturdy base). Nevertheless, I have managed to find a couple of lingerie lovelies to break up all the tightlacing!
So there’s a slight chance that the lace in this piece was my fault… And it gives me a certain amount of warm fuzzies that my lace hunting skills allowed this piece to come into being because good God, how stunning is it?! From the impeccable pattern matching, that scalloped bottom edge and the wings… After all, secretly, haven’t most of us dreamed of being faeries? Ava Corsetry’s ‘Giselle’ inspired corset is lace overlay perfection and gives me serious design envy.
I first discovered Nonos Lingerie through this Etsy video, shared on my facebook many years ago… As well as having a wonderful insight into Virginie Rouffignac’s approach to underwear (men’s and women’s!), from a purely personal level there’s a lot of satisfaction in watching the actual construction process of beautiful lingerie. Nevertheless, back to antique lace: although they’re no longer available in her Etsy shop, there used to be some heart-stoppingly beautiful pieces that incorporated Victorian lace as appliqué. This is literally some of the most beautiful lingerie I’ve ever seen: the lace placement, the blush silk, the vintage inspired silhouettes… They kind of make me want to cry. In the best possible way. I hope to see them back in her shop one day (when I actually have money!); I still have a very desperate need for them… In the meantime, this 1930s inspired silk print is pretty damn gorgeous.
So those of you that follow me on social media are probably well aware of my love for Sparklewren’s exquisite corsetry… And perhaps also aware of the fact that she is a terrible shiny enabler and has a certain amount of responsibility for my terrible lace addiction (she was, after all, the first person to introduce me to Solstiss and to gift me a piece of their lace!). Although I haven’t spotted much in her more recent pieces, Jenni used to regularly use antique lace on her designs (including one of my favourite ever corsets, the ‘Burning Coals’). Her silk and appliquéd lace pieces are perhaps the most recognisable: the symmetry and shimmering crystal embellishment is wonderfully opulent. Still, I haven’t quite stopped thinking about that wonderful organic placement and contrast with the spikes on the Burning Coals… I might have to organise a corset heist for that one! (And on a little side note, for regular corset swooning I highly recommend subscribing to Jenni’s diary; though be careful if you are weak willed, there is an awful lot of beauty to take in one go…)
Morua’s designs are the perfect balance of beautiful shape and impeccable embellishment… Gerry’s use of vintage and antique textiles to create stunning new garments goes unparalleled, whether it be through vintage glass glitter or century old lace. I love the layering of new and old sparkles on intricate chantilly laces and the carefully considered symmetrical placement. Although not strictly lingerie, I also utterly adore her hand-cut chantilly lace necklaces: that illusion of floating lace against bare skin is utterly beautiful.
The knickers of Strumpet and Pink very much straddle the boundary between clothing and wearable art. I’d say leaning more towards wearable art, as the seeming fragility of some of these pieces would make me fearful of actually putting them on my body… These are pieces that are too beautiful to just be worn. If I ever acquired a pair of knickers by this label, rest assured they’d have to be framed and treasured forever more. Strumpet and Pink rather seem to have disappeared in recent years which saddens me deeply. I don’t think there’s another lingerie brand who puts quite as much thought into hand finishing,attention to detail and extravagant and boundary pushing design… But with price tags around £500/pair, maybe it’s not so surprising; I know all too well how difficult it can be to sell a luxury product in a world where craftsmanship is so underappreciated. (On a slight aside, although the brand no longer seem to be producing knickers, one of the founders did curate one of the most gorgeous coffee table books I’ve ever laid eyes upon: ‘Design Behind Desire’. I highly recommend acquiring a copy!). Nevertheless, let’s take some time to drool over these delicious knicker confections… And yes, they’re so delicious that the raw cut edges don’t even bother me: I feel they actually add a certain amount of charm to the pieces!
What do you think of these antique lace pieces? Would you be scared of wearing them or have they made their way onto your lingerie lust list?
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this little series on Victorian leavers lace and have a new found appreciation for this wonderful textile! This certainly won’t be the last time that I talk about it but for the next few posts I’ll be moving onto things a little more explicity lingerie-centric. If there’s anything you’d like to so me cover please do let me know in the comments!