x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Done correctly, lace can be flattering

There are but two ways to wear lace — just a subtle bit, or all-out, head to toe.

I've been skirting around the subject of lace for sometime in the hope that it might fade out, but perhaps due to the gothic trend that seems to be gaining momentum at a fairly rapid pace right now, it seems to be staying firmly put.

Last year prints did the rounds, the year before that we marched around in oversized jumpers and sparkly leggings- so perhaps we should be grateful for something with a certain amount of elegance. That's not to say we don't need to be very careful; you can definitely have too much of a good thing with lace. You see there is a very fine line between a sophisticated romantic look and that of a big giant doily.

There are really only two ways to wear lace: one is in the subtle, demure way - think flashes rather than pieces - and the other is to go all-out head to toe. Believe it or not, lace is actually supremely flattering and also extremely useful in that it never creases, which is remarkable in something so delicate. A continuation from last season this time around it's less about overtly saturated, sophisticated colours and more about a slightly more delicate muted aesthetic.

This season go for a slightly more chunky lace rather than a flimsy one. Try looking for pieces that weave ribbons or strips of fabric into lace-inspired patterns. Use flashes from an undergarment - a slip of lace peeking out of the bottom of a skirt or below a straight tailored jacket can transform an otherwise dreary outfit.

When it comes to colour, stay away from the stereotypes of soft pinks, creams and beige as lace is already an incredibly feminine pattern, so try experimenting with dark reds or navy blues. As for the lace itself, any colour is worth a try although light tones are best - again in a thick, chunky lace to avoid looking bridal. Creams and blush pink layers look beautiful under black lace; soft greys are supremely chic and flashes of neons can work in terms of modernising the overall look.

Chloé and lace have a wonderful history so it was of no surprise it is much in evidence this season again with some pretty cream fine lace. Erdem teamed it with a trouser suit (something that wouldn't normally work) but the end result was superb.

Riccardo Tisci brought some sophisticated sexiness to Givenchy; inspired by Jilly Cooper's Riders it was laced with a heady equestrian undertone. Valentino did the usual blow-your-socks-off glamour with an elegant knee-length bright red lace dress that is sure to be copied all over the high street.

In terms of care, lace is delicate but will last for many years if given the treatment it requires. All lace should be hand washed using cool water and a mild detergent, making sure that all buttons and zips to avoid tearing the lace. Let the garment soak but do not wring it out - instead gently squeeze from top to bottom instead then leave to air dry or dried flat on a clean towel.

Never hang it in any way or tumble dry. If ironing is needed, place a thick white towel over the ironing board and use another piece of fabric between the iron and the lace.

What is also highly important (and which you can probably guess) is you mustn't scrimp with lace. The cheap, shiny stuff is truly awful and will not last. Instead invest in one or two quality items and learn how to take good care of it. When wearing it, keep accessories to a minimum - they will only be a busy distraction. And if lace isn't for you, don't push it. Fashion moves fast and tomorrow there will be something else to try.

ktrotter@thenational.ae