After decades of wearing tight-fitted and super constricted clothing, fashion is moving towards simplicity. A focus on materials, functionality and comfort is becoming a key trend. Interestingly, this movement is taking place at the same time as the development of maximalist agendas of visionary design directors like Gucci’s Alessandro Michele.
In addition to this, the young fashion consumer is also waking up to a newfound love and appreciation of handwork and decadent detailing that reminds them of a simpler time. Needless to say, fashion is going through a period of very opposing forces tugging at every end as winds of change make their way into the industry’s age-old system of trends.
Laces, with their ornate intricacy and haptic appeal, have always enjoyed a good market and the new trend for ‘slow fashion’ is only going to propel this demand further ahead. As several brands take a second look at their archives, the small application of laces to contemporary silhouettes is becoming commonplace. The main factor contributing to the popularity of laces is that it can easily augment a Plain Jane garment and imbue a hint of luxury to it.
While embroidery may be going for a slightly downward spiral for Spring 2019 collections at least, product development teams are using lace as a value adding replacement to fill this gap.
Wide Portfolio of Demand
From eclectic patchwork and crafty trims to Jacobean motifs, design improvements in the segment range far and wide depending on the brand profile and demographic for which one – manufactures. However, one thing that’s clear is laces are not being used that widely as an applicator of the erstwhile rococo or rustic baroque mood. The lace trend going forward has more to do with a boho, escapist and global traveller outlook.
According to Tanuj Goel of ATM Exports that supplies laces, trims, etc. and has even set up a garment manufacturing unit now, though growth is stable, the market for laces has grown highly competitive. This has forced buyers to get extremely creative in designing strategic placements and picking up different styles to create value. Goel adds that compared to the last few years, there has been a huge upsurge in originality and since everyone is looking for something different, there is no set directional trend in the market.
However, the technique that is being touted as the biggest trend of the moment is Schiffli. Corroborating this demand is Sumesh Jain of K Gian Chand & Co., who adds that machine embroidered laces that come with some relaxed textures like Schiffli/Eyelet in cotton as well as delicate patterns tightly stitched onto illusion bases have a strong market presence at the moment.
Also popular are chemical laces, which allows extensive use of lace in even difficult areas of application, as the technique essentially involves embroidering lace onto a cloth backing that is later dissolved in a chemical bath. It is being widely used for tops, dresses and even home furnishing products.
Designers on the runway are employing lace in unexpected colours like pitch black or screaming reds and the suppliers also agree with the same. Goel further elaborated that any colour that is trending in normal garments is a colour we are seeing the demand for in laces. So, for Spring 2019, there are a lot of pastels like lavender or subdued yellow that are selling well.
However, Rakesh Gupta of Vakorns Embroidery emphasises that there is no particular lace technique or pattern that could be called a direction, or a defining trend. What are doing well are the all-over basics and machine-made laces as well as comfortable knit laces that provide agility and contour with the body easily.
Perfecting The High-Low Mix
The overarching trend in the garment industry currently revolves around functionality and laces are somewhat the opposite of that. Nonetheless, the fandom of the trend thrives due to the fact a tiny piece of lace can serve as a perfect feminine contrast to a lot of hyper masculine silhouettes. Apart from this, lace also gives an illusion of high-end to garments that need not be very expensive.
Designers who have been working with lace season to season are now playing with proportion and volume, creating unusual silhouettes that prevent the material from appearing too pretty and feminine.
Hints of the sportswear movement are also not separated from lace as designers are using lace edging on sporty parkas and bomber jackets. In India, ATM Exports has started experimenting with Lycra in laces. Even though the percentage of Lycra being used is almost negligible, it is making a huge difference in taking the gentle fabric and gives it more stretch for active clothing. In appearance, the stretchable lace looks no different from a normal one but in practice, it is more functional and durable.
As the mass market pulls away from over-embellishment, silk or simply metallic-hued lace fabrics are becoming the go to option for designers going out outfits. Bringing a bit of bold in the midst of all the elegance, even fly away beads and hanging pallets on plain bases are extremely popular on the runway for party dresses. It is the year to shimmy and designers are making garments that look good in motion while not looking too heavy duty at the same time.
Central Stories for Lace Lovers
An important underwriter for why everyone stays lace-obsessed all year in both high-street and the runways is because of its relevance in festival fashion. Even though festivewear saw an influx of sportswear this year, no festive edit can be complete without the DIY appeal of crocheted wraps and bustier blouses. In general, the bohemian, hippie-like trend that has a very ‘borrowed from your grandma’ vibe is an important theme for S/S 2019 collections.
Not surprisingly, florals continue to dominate the market when it comes to motifs. While not news to anyone, the flower power trend is going larger than life in the coming season and the pattern is not used as a placement but mostly in its all-over bravura.
Another mainstream trend that sits well with designers looking to use lace is deconstruction. In the opinion of Shreya Parashar, Senior Designer at Radnik Exports, embellishments are not really in trend for her market (Germany and EU) and even embroideries are not interesting their buyers anymore. This is where laces are hitting a soft spot. Radnik’s team is placing laces using the presently popular ‘cut and sew’ method or in some cases they are cutting a patch and just using it as a yoke placement.
Lace is being used as modesty patches in places where a garment might have a racy cut-out but inserting a lace panel is keeping the garment from going far away on the modesty front. Similarly, lacy sheer fabrics are a runway and bridal market hit. The entirety of bridal collections was dotted with more risqué necklines and translucent embroidered fabrics creating a fierce feminine vibe. All in all, with conservative fashion being a huge fashion trend at the moment, the net-like appeal of lacy fabrics is perfect for the occasion.