The 19th century can be said to have been mad about lace. The return of interest in this fabric was favoured, notably, by:
- the appearance of a new clientèle obsessed with luxury
- the bourgeoisie
- the resumption of courtly life in Paris with Napoleon III and his wife Eugénie
- the mechanisation of certain types of lace.
Lace would have its place in the entire female wardrobe, adorning crinolines, corsages, collars and sleeves. Umbrellas, stockings, gloves, fans and handkerchiefs completed this infatuation. Utility was less important with these frivolities than its pageantry.
The handkerchief remained a key element of the trousseau of every respectable young woman. It was also given as a gift. With this new seasonal presentation, the museum showcases this discreet little square with such great power.