Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A GUIDE TO VINTAGE LACE WEDDING DRESSES Part 1: Pastel and Coloured Lace

Dear Reader

Most of the brides I meet love vintage lace wedding dresses. And there are so many fabulous types to choose from. Today, I'd like to talk about the pastel-coloured lace often used in 1950s wedding dresses.
1950s lace wedding dress, c Heavenly Vintage Brides vintage wedding blog 2013 - detail of blush colour and satin belt
A glimpse of a beautiful vintage lace wedding dress, for more details see below
COLOUR
One of the most common reasons brides come to see me is that they don't feel modern wedding dresses offer enough choice of colour. 

Contemporary lace wedding dresses are mostly available in bright white or still-fairly-bright ivory. With modern dresses you are always limited by what is currently fashionable. With vintage, you have access to up to 100 years of style!

A guide to vintage lace wedding dresses, c Heavenly Vintage Brides, vintage wedding blog 2013
Hand-making lace, on the Italian island of Burano, 1950s
Vintage lace wedding dresses come in a much wider range of colour options, which are often softer and deeper. Most of my dresses are gorgeous shades of white, cream, pale gold, and deeper ivory. 

One colour palette I particularly love for lace is the pastel champagne / blush / apricot shades. Many brides don't initially think of these colours for vintage lace - but they are so soft and flattering to wear.

BEAUTIFUL LACE WEDDING DRESSES FROM MY COLLECTION
I'd like to show you some examples: the three dresses below are currently available at my studio, all priced at £595.
1950s lace wedding dresses, c Heavenly Vintage Brides, boat neck style
1950s lace wedding dress with vintage flower trim, £595 
Detail of boat neck, A guide to vintage lace wedding dresses, c Heavenly Vintage Brides,
1950s lace wedding dress, pretty 'boat neck', £595
A guide to vintage lace wedding dresses, c Heavenly Vintage Brides, rear view of 1950s wedding dress
1950s lace wedding dress, elegant 'V' neck at back
A guide to vintage lace wedding dresses, c Heavenly Vintage Brides, vintage wedding blog 2013
Lace wedding dress, classic 1950s silhouette
A guide to vintage lace wedding dresses, c Heavenly Vintage Brides, vintage wedding blog 2013
1950s lace wedding dress, with lovely vintage-style flower detail £595
A guide to vintage lace wedding dresses- detail of vintage flower on 1950s lace
1950s lace wedding dress, 3/4 sleeves, £595
A guide to vintage lace wedding dresses, full length image of late 1950s lace wedding dress with satin ribbon tie
Beautiful dress from late 1950s/early 1960s, £595
A guide to vintage lace wedding dresses, back of late 1950s lace wedding dress with ruffle neckline
Late 1950s/early 1960s dress, ruffle neckline, £595
A guide to vintage lace wedding dresses, c Heavenly Vintage Brides
Flattering softly fitted bodice, £595
A guide to vintage lace wedding dresses, bodice with close up of 1950s lace dress
Pretty satin ribbon and vintage crystal belt
A guide to vintage lace wedding dresses, classic 1950s lace wedding dress with open collar
Classic 1950s wedding dress, £595
A guide to vintage lace wedding dresses, classic 1950s wedding dress side view with bow
Lovely 1950s silhouette - so feminine, £595 
A guide to vintage lace wedding dresses, detail of bodice of classic 1950s lace wedding dress with satin ribbon belt
1950s wedding dress: 3/4 sleeves and blush satin ribbon tie, £595
FABRICS
The three dresses above are all shorter length and date from the same time, late 1950s or early 60s. Like most 1950s lace wedding dresses, they are made with high quality synthetic fibres blended with cotton. 

After the war, these new fabrics were highly admired for the strength and flexibility they offer, making them feel soft and lovely to wear. And because of the strength of the modern fabric fibres, these dresses - like many 1950s wedding dresses - are still in wonderful condition.

Queen Elizabeth wearing vintage lace dress, 1959
Queen Elizabeth looking rather fabulous in pastel lace, 1959
Before the war, lace would always have been made in cotton or silk. Sadly, most antique silk lace has become very fragile and can no longer be worn.

However vintage/antique cotton lace is often still in very good wearable condition, as it is such a strong fibre. And 
although it gave way to the fashion for synthetics in the 1950s, cotton lace swung back into fashion in the 1960s and 1970s. I have many lovely cotton lace dresses in my collection.

VINTAGE LACE, FOR TIMELESS STYLE
Lace wedding dresses have been popular for over 400 years. In the 1600s, weight-for-weight, handmade lace cost more than gold. Lace was desired not just for its beauty, but as a sophisticated way to show your family's wealth.
Vermeer's "The Lacemakers" painting, A guide to vintage lace wedding dresses, c Heavenly Vintage Brides
'The Lacemaker' by Johannes Vermeer, painted c 1670
Lace would be worn by wealthy families at every formal opportunity, and was often passed down through generations as a valuable inheritance. 
Princess Grace in 1950s vintage lace wedding dress. A guide to vintage lace wedding dresses, c Heavenly Vintage Brides
Princess Grace's exquisite vintage lace wedding dress, 1956

So it is no surprise that lace became the first choice for opulent and exquisite wedding dresses. It is right back at the height of wedding fashion today, and vintage offers such a beautiful selection.

I will feature other types of lace in later posts, so please check back in! And thanks for dropping by today.

Love
Helena
Heavenly Vintage Brides