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Snark Week is all about the nitpicking, and this post is dedicated to a little nitpick that bugs the crap out of Kendra. But I’m writing about it because, some years ago, I researched the topic for part of a class I taught at Costume College. Teamwork makes dreamwork here at Frock Flicks HQ!
Here’s the problem: a lot of historical costume movies and TV shows use Battenberg lace parasols and fans because they look ye olde-timey and, of course, because they’re cheap and easy to find these days. As we’ve said a billion times before, we get it, budgets are a thing in film production! But that doesn’t mean we have to like it, and especially during Snark Week, it’s no holds barred.
OK, what is this lace? What’s generally called Battenberg lace is a type of tape lace, meaning it’s made up of tapes that are folded or twisted and connected by strings. Today, the whole thing can be machine made. Tape laces do date to around the 16th or 17th century and were used in clothing.
But tape laces weren’t the most popular of laces for garments or accessories. In the mid 19th century, they were mostly used on household linens like tablecloths, until the very end of the 1800s when Battenberg lace made it to dresses. It wasn’t until the 1920s that Battenberg lace was really used for parasols and fans.
Now why is it wrong? Well at least partly because it wasn’t used in alllllllll the various and many time periods it’s plopped down in! Sure, the costume department can Amazon Prime these babies to whatever shoot is going on, but please, we’re tired of seeing it.
Also, these modern versions can look clunky and cheap — because they are cheap, duh. But hey, paper parasols were used starting in the 19th century and can look less cheap, and cloth parasols are appropriate for any era.
So here’s where frock flicks get it wrong (and you can practically hear Kendra’s teeth gritting in the background)…
OK, lace experts, have at it, because there’s a lot more to the subject, and we barely scratched the surface with this nitpick!