History of Alencon Lace and Its Current Uses

Thursday, January 02, 2014


Alencon lace, known as the lace for Queens, had its beginnings in France in the 1500s. French aristocracy had lace from Spain and Italy imported, which was very expensive. They used it on their clothing, the aprons of their servants, for bed coverings, for curtains, christening clothing, and the churches used it on their altars and as part of the priest’ clothing. The king would give those who he favored this lace as a gift. In the 1660s, to decrease their dependence on these laces, a factory was built and lace makers employed in Alencon to make their own lace. In the beginning, the lace produced in Alencon looked much like the lace from Spain and Italy. Eventually, the lace took on its own uniqueness and separated itself from the Spanish and Italian laces.

Decline and Eventual Preservation
During the French revolution, lace makers were put to death because of their familiarity with the nobility. Many other lace makers fled the country to stay alive. Many years later, several attempts were made to give rebirth to the lace industry in Alencon, all of which failed. Eventually, machine-made laces ended handmade lace making in this area. In the 1970s, the National Alencon Lace Workshop was created to make it possible for this beautiful lace-making method to survive. To apprentice with a master, to learn this lace-making technique, takes four years. If someone wants to become a master lace maker they will need to make lace for four more years. Because this lace is so time intensive to produce, new lace can cost hundreds of dollars for each square inch.

Lace Uses and Applications
Today, you will find Alencon lace used mostly on wedding dresses, wedding veils, and pieces of it can be used on wedding cakes, in wedding bouquets, and on anything else you might want to make more beautiful. This lace has been described as graceful, strong, delicate, extraordinary, and exquisite. No matter how you use it, its rich history brings elegance to the moment that nothing else can. Using this lace preserves the craftsmanship that has brought this type of lace up to the present moment and into the future.


Hugs & Kisses,

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