TRENDWhite lace is suddenly out and about. There were many avatars at the Cannes film festival

There's a certain stigma attached to the delicate beauty of white lace. Traditionally, it's always been what brides wear. Or something that makes for old people's altar cloths and curtains. And coverlets and doilies. So it was both clever and ironic when Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, in the D&G Spring/ Summer 2011 line showcased in Milan, turned to the hope chest – with its paraphernalia of bed linen, tableware and dishware – for inspiration. The sight of over a dozen models – all in white – walking the ramp at the end of the show also gave lace new hope for this season.

Then came Kate Middleton and Prince William's wedding, and after much speculation about who the wedding dress' designer would be (it started from Bruce Oldfied), the bride came out wearing Alexander McQueen by Sarah Burton. Although characterised by the signature McQueen silhouette and waist pleating, it came with Ms. Burton's more feminine touch, an effect achieved remarkably through the use of lace that came from lace-makers Sophie Hallette in Caudry in northern France. Lace, now, is everywhere. Coco Chanel, in one of her oft-quoted quotes, once said she considered lace “one of the prettiest imitations ever made of the fantasy of nature.”

The white lace trend that showcased in the Spring/ Summer 2011 shows of Dolce&Gabbana, Just Cavalli, Valentino, Blugirl, and others has caught on well and good if one judges from the red carpet at Cannes, where who's wearing what assumes, quite often, more importance – and print and screen space – than who's doing what. From jury member Uma Thurman to actors Elizabeth Olsen, Melanie Laurent and Fan Bing Bing, producer Bryce Dallas Howard and surfer Bethany Hamilton, everybody turned to wispy white.

Elizabeth Olsen, in Cannes for her filmMartha Macy May Marlene, played the loyal sister by donning creations from The Row, the label run by her sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley – twice in a row. One of them was a beautiful ankle-length white lace creation that brought to mind magnificent cathedral arches in sunlight.

Chinese actor Fan Bing Bing, who impressed with wardrobe choices that ranged from Ateliar Versace to Oscar de la Renta, wore one of the most gorgeous white lace creations at Cannes – an Elie Saab couture gown with a lovely lace train.

Feminine alternative

Melanie Laurent ofInglourious Basterds fame, who was emcee of the opening ceremony at Cannes this year, wore a floral white lace Dior dress during the photo call earlier in the day, a much more feminine alternative to the pantsuits she wore while jumping and dancing with Mr. Tarantino on the red carpet last year.

Uma Thurman, who stuck to white for most of Cannes (a feathered Versace front-slit gown from Versace during the opening ceremony and Chanel Couture during thePirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tidespremiere), was dressed-down day chic in a broderie anglaise D&G dress from the aforementioned Spring/ Summer 2011 line.

It wasn't that lace stayed away from colour throughout the festival; we surely loved Emily Browning's nude Valentino lace dress which she wore to the screening ofSleeping Beauty, as well as the red-on-nude Marchesa one whose train Rachel McAdams kept fiddling with. But this was certainly white's turn to out-colour.

SHALINI SHAH

More In: METRO PLUS | FEATURES