At 14 years of age, I discovered a novel fabric that enchanted me. The fabric was “Dotted Swiss,” a delicate confection I had never seen before. It became very popular among teenage girls, and I was the lucky recipient of a particularly lovely Dotted Swiss dress I wore at my graduation. The color was pastel blue, embellished with tiny white dots
I have since learned that this “Dotted Swiss” fabric had its origins in St. Gallen, Switzerland, around 1750. I have never lost my appreciation for exquisite fabrics, particularly antique lace of all varieties and from all cultures.
When a friend wore an antique Irish lace dress at her wedding, I was mesmerized by its craftsmanship, an art that unfortunately has been lost to antiquity.
Chantilly lace, an exquisite black needle lace, takes its name from the French town of Chantilly. In the eighteenth century, Chantilly gained fame as a premier lace-making center.
French chapeau designers of the nineteenth century often combined pleated lace with velvet in their creations, resulting in absolutely charming bonnets. Paired with equally beautiful lace and velvet capes, it is not surprising that the demand for their creations went through the ceiling. Today, antique capes and bonnets sell for a pretty penny. Perhaps many of us long for the bygone elegance of the Victorian Era.