cover image Lace


Rizzoli, Anne Kraatz. Rizzoli International Publications, $65 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-1029-1

This survey of lace styles from the 16th century to the present balances intelligent, accessible text with detailed photographs of lace pieces and paintings that show how fashion has depended on the lacemaker's art. From the ethereal lace ruffs--wafting up from the neck to frame the face in an ethereal aura and preserve modesty--of the Renaissance, worn by men and women, to the unblushingly voluptuous 1980s scarlet lace evening dress designed by Parisian couturier Thierry Mugler, lace, as Kraatz demonstrates, has lent distinctly different qualities to clothing over the centuries. And though the fragile, sensuous flutter of lace incorporated in a garment may first hold the eye of an observer, the meticulous patterns that shape it are of equal interest and vary widely, from the fanciful figures of mermaids, lobsters and frogs in a French bedcover, c.1595-1615, to a 20th century piece by Suzanne Pinault modeled on North African mosaics--a study in spare abstraction, where the spaces between threads matter as much as the ``picture'' the threads themselves create. Kraatz has served as a consultant to the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. (May)