The magic of tulle is such that we imagine that it has always existed. Evanescence, lightness and elegance in fact belong to the image of the collective archetype of beauty.
Women in Ancient Greece already wore cloaks of light and transparent voile, fixed onto the head with orange blossoms, much reminiscent of the most romantic of brides today.
It was the artisans of the town of Tulle, in the heart of France, who were the first to produce this fabric around the 1700s, giving it the name that still makes brides dream today; the modern-day tulle was first produced in England after John Heathcoat developed the bobbinet machine in 1809.
So it came to be, the first English tulle wedding: in 1840 Queen Victoria went to the altar with a white, fluffy dress adorned with lace; since then tulle has been synonymous with wedding dresses. Then came the tulle dress of excellence, the costume worn by classic dancers: the famous tutu, made up of layers and layers of light tulle.
What followed next was the fashion of the hat with a veil, worn by elegant ladies during the Belle Epoque (late 1800s) and born from the creativity of English F. Worth, a Parisian high society tailor. The variant in black then became a sign of mourning.
Worth was the one who determined the success of tulle layers which, combined with the crinoline, added richness and breadth to skirts and dresses, marking all the first years of the 1900s with the preciousness of elegant evening dresses, underwear and even curtains.
In Umbria in the 1930s, Ars Panicalensis, the art of embroidery on tulle was recovered by Anita Belleschi Griffins. Her drawings, of nineteenth-century taste, were mainly composed of floral motifs, enriched by large swirls and festoons, or elegant compositions with birds of paradise between flowering branches. Together with her daughter, Anita created the christening dress for Princess Maria Pia of Savoy, daughter of Umberto and Maria Jose. Thanks to these contacts Panicale embroidery became famous among the nobles and the upper middle class families. Wedding veils were commissioned, tablecloths, embroidery on clothing and other items were requested, important not only for the Clergy, and private individuals, but also for various embassies and foreign markets.
In 1954, the black and white dress worn by Grace Kelly in the Hitchcock film “Rear Window” was a three quarter length draped skirt, inspired by the style of the dancers, made with layers of chiffon and tulle, became an icon in the fashion world. The dress designed by Edith Head remains in the annals as one of the most famous costumes in film history, as well as a fashion icon.
Femininity and romance inspired many designers who continue to use or rediscover the tulle for their creations, especially made in Italy.
Tulle is today the main protagonist in the creation of wedding favors for weddings or other special occasions (births, baptisms, confirmations), while at Easter it adorns chocolate eggs thanks to the imagination of its colors. Its versatility makes it suitable for all types of decoration and ornamentation that creativity can conceive, even carnival.
Theatrical tulle has the distinction, much appreciated and exploited in set design, to be semi-transparent when backlit and opaque when lit from the front.
Currently tulle is made of silk, cotton, wool, polyamide, polyester and lurex.