OBJECT MATTERSThe lace curtain.

OBJECT MATTERSThe lace curtain.

Issue 52

, Starters

  • Words Ali Morris
  • Photo Cecilie Jegsen

The origin of lace curtains is—appropriately enough—a little hazy. Although handmade examples from the 16th century exist, it wasn’t until the invention of the lace curtain machine in Nottingham in the UK, in 1846, that they became an affordable luxury for the middle classes. After World War II, cheaper polyester net curtains flooded the market and lace quickly lost its allure. In America, “lace curtain Irish” emerged as a derogatory term that signified pretentiousness, while in the UK, they became synonymous with the suburban “curtain twitcher.”

Unphased by these associations, Danish made-to-measure curtain studio &Drape has launched a limited-edition collection that shakes any fusty connotations out of the lace curtain. Inspired by the “poetic atmosphere” created by the lace curtains at Rungstedlund, the former home of celebrated Danish writer Karen Blixen,1 the collection includes an abstract floral design and a graphic net pattern, both crafted from high-quality, deadstock Italian lace. “For a long time, we have been fascinated by the way Blixen’s delicate lace curtains play with light,” says Nadia Al Zagir Balling, who cofounded &Drape along with Julie Vendal. “That became our starting point for the collection.”

At Rungstedlund, Blixen’s lace curtains are so long that they drape artfully over the floor; it’s said that she brought them from a previous home, where the ceilings were higher, and didn’t bother to cut them. “One of our favorite quotes in Blixen’s writing is ‘Poetry is a great and happy force in life and helps us bear to carry the burdens of everyday life,’” says Al Zagir Balling. “That really encapsules what we wanted to do with the collection: bring poetry into people’s homes with these beautiful tailored lace curtains.”


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