En garde! It’s what’s shouted to fencers, informing them to take an opening position and prepare for action. Fencers as in those folks who wear the interesting costumes and fight – but not to hurt each other – with swords. While the sport is filled with French terms, such as the aforementioned en garde, and the special swords known as épée, fencing is believed to have developed in Spain.
There’s one more French term that’s associated with fencing which might surprise you. We often attach it, instead, to beautiful gowns. Lamé is a fabric woven with thin ribbons of metallic fiber, so it has conductive properties that make it perfect for the overjacket worn in fencing. When an opponent’s épée comes into contact, the metallic fiber announces a score.
Lamé fabric is valued for its shiny and metallic-looking qualities. It’s often used to make accessories such as handbags, as well as women’s shoes. Lamé is sometimes used as an upholstery fabric, as well. We’re used to seeing it in either gold or silver colors, but lame can be found in about any color.
In garments, lame makes its appearance mainly as evening wear for women. Garments made of lamé for men and women are common in theater.
You’d have a difficult time wearing anything made of lamé if the entire fabric was made of metal. Lamé is what’s known as a hybrid fabric. The fabric is made with a filler fiber – usually nylon or polyester – and then wrapped with metallic threads. The fibers are then woven to create a lightweight fabric.
Those metallic threads are usually not solid. Instead, they’re metal-coated plastic or yarn fibers that are coated. Older garments might actually be made with solid metal threads, but today’s lame is made with the coated fibers because it creates a lighter fabric that won’t tarnish.
Caring for Lamé Garments
Lamé fabric creates vivid colors and fashions, making it an excellent choice for an evening gown or formal garment of any kind. It’s also found used as trim on formal wear because it makes for a bold contrast to dark colors.
While lamé may be made with metal, it can be a delicate fabric. Most lamé garments feature an inner lining because the metallic fibers can irritate skin. This fabric requires professional cleaning to prevent damage.
We know how to care for metallic fabrics like lamé. Sign up for pick-up and delivery service, and we’ll notify you by email when your garments are on the way.