March 1, 2012
There’s machine-made lace and then there’s Martha Medeiros’ couture kind of lace, which is handcrafted by 250 villagers living along the Sao Francisco river in northwest Brazil. These artisanal families have passed down the ancient Renaissance technique of lace-making from generation to generation, and Medeiros has been sourcing the rare stuff (a bolt of the fabric can take up to eight months to create) locally for years to make her unique designs, which made their American debut on the fourth floor of Bergdorf Goodman this week. The line started when loyal customers would come into Medeiros’ 25-year-old luxury boutique and request a made-to-order dress for special occasions like a wedding or a Baile de Debutante. “They would bring in their fine jewelry and ask me to dye the lace to match the stones,” Medeiros told Style.com at a private launch celebration at BG on Wednesday. Eventually the wait list got long enough that Medeiros decided to officially focus her efforts on designing. Since then, she has expanded to include a few younger styles like an on-trend peplum cocktail dress with a shredded tulle hem and a breathtaking maxi skirt with a puddling train that could pair with a simple T-shirt for a modern effect. These heritage looks cost a pretty penny—one of the shorter, less formal numbers rang in at $3,444—but Medeiros knows her customer is willing to shell out for craftsmanship and exclusivity.
Photo: Courtesy of Martha Medeiros