Brazilian Renaissance Lace
I decided to inaugurate my blog with a text about the traditional Brazilian renaissance lace and on some other details about the work I develop. I hope the information captivates you and raises interest in this special kind of lace, which is at once delicate, precious as well as strong and resistant.
In the middle of the 16th century, in northern Italy, especially around the commercial area of Venice, lace became a distinguished luxury product, and the lace known today as the "renaissance lace" was probably imported, modified and commercialized by France in the 17th century. The lacing technique arrived in Brazil along with the Portuguese royal court and was produced and taught in convents and in religious schools for young women in the colonial capitals of the Northeast. Between 1830 and 1850, the teaching of lacing techniques spread throughout the west, and, nowadays, the tradition is considered Brazilian cultural heritage, produced in the states of Alagoas, Ceará, Maranhão, Paraíba, Pernambuco and Rio Grande do Norte. In addition to its cultural relevance, the production of renaissance lace in these centers is of great economic and social importance for local communities.
The renaissance lace is made from simple materials, but the technique is quite elaborate and requires much skill and patience. Firstly, the pattern of lace is drawn with a marker pen in tracing paper. Then a cotton ribbon, called "lacê", or "guipir", is stitched onto this design. The basted guipir and tracing paper are folded over a more resistant paper, attached to a small cylindrical shaped cushion. Finally, with a cotton thread and a simple hand needle, the artisan begins to sew small knots, connecting the traces of guipir with several types of stitches: popcorn, spider, net, chain, pineapple, coconut. It is lovely to watch the precious work of the lacing women!
The beautiful result of this artisan work is a kind of lace that has been applied to extremely luxurious garments. Also, because the lace is made out of pure cotton and with precise manual sewing, renaissance lace pieces have high durability when used carefully and well-kept. It is common, therefore, for these garments to become family relics, passing on from generation to generation.
Bridal and evening gowns in renaissance lace have been used by celebrities in Brazil and abroad, even on the red carpets of Cannes and the Grammy. The styles can vary widely, from the most traditional and classic, to the most modern.
In my work, I have sought essentially to meet the taste and style of the brides and clients I serve. Weddings, more specifically, deserve an exclusive dress, designed with the contribution of the bride. The more traditional women may opt for classic fit, whishing that, in the future, they will be used again by their daughters or granddaughters. The more pragmatic brides may want modern fits that will later be transformed into one or two evening gowns.
Another interesting aspect of the work I develop is that, based on my research and studies on this material and its techniques, it is possible to create not only the shapes of the lace pieces for the dress, but also the lace design itself, in very close collaboration with the artisans. I have a huge passion for this work process and the passion grows every day with new findings.
Enjoyed the reading? Do you have a special event in mind and want to look dazzling in a renaissance lace dress? Please contact me! I will love to create a special gown with you and only for you!