Macrame is an ancient craft in which knots are tied with fibre cables. This craft has existed for hundreds of years and can be traced back to the thirteenth century. It was thought that the art originated from the Arab weavers who travelled through the desert and traded the products of their craft with city dwellers.
Over time, the craft of macramé spread throughout Europe and attracted the fascination of all in the social classes. Indeed, it is known that male sailors use macramé to pass the time while spending long months at sea. In port, seamen would swap their finished ships so that they could buy essential supplies before returning to their ships. And so the art of macramé continued to flourish.
Macramé’s popularity reached its peak during the Victorian era. Macramé lace was all the rage and could be found on curtains, women’s sleeves, dress hems, pillowcases and anywhere else where a little lace decoration could be used.
Over the centuries, the popularity of macramé gradually declined. Some of the more elaborate knotting techniques were soon forgotten and left no record of their patterns and designs. The art of knotting, however, is still alive, the passion for the knot that burns continuously beneath the surface.
The passion for macramé increased in the seventies. During this decade, pieces of macramé were always everywhere. There was never a home without a macramé plant hanger or a macramé owl hanging on the walls. During this revival period, craftsmen focused more on textiles and furnishings such as macramé hammocks, chairs and decorative macramé accessories used in the home. By the time the 1980s were rocking and rolling, macramé had disappeared from people’s memories.
This disappearance did not last long, however. With the nineties came the grunge scene, and again the ancient craft experienced a kind of revival, but this time in the form of hemp jewellery. Macramé bracelets and necklaces can be found at craft fairs and in shops. The natural earthy appearance of hemp was the perfect complement to the knotted art form.
Now this old art form is being revived, but with a view to a larger audience. The world of Haute Couture has begun to experiment with it. Last year it was subtly added to fashion lines of famous houses. This year we have seen macramé accessories in the spring and summer 2020 collections. Who would have thought that the Spring 2020 collection of Dianne Von Furstenberg, a famous fashion designer, would feature several beautiful macramé dresses?
The world of Haute Couture often leads the cavalry when it comes to reviving the crafts and techniques of bygone days. The potential of macramé as a sophisticated art form in fashion is undeniable. Macramé artists are slowly being recognized as craftsmen of the highest caliber. So pull out your macramé string and start knotting!