All the famous laces in history - Mechlin, Binche, Argentan, Point de France, Point de Angletaire, etc - are of two main kinds, bobbin lace and needle lace. Many are a mixture of the two. Needle lace evolved naturally from cutwork embroidery, specifically Reticella, but the origins of bobbin lace have been the subject of scholarly debate for hundreds of years.
Bobbin lace was first used more as a trim (a passementerie), stitched flat to the fabric like braid, rather than hanging free like the edging of a ruff. As it matured, the structure became more stable and it was used to imitate more cheaply the fabulously expensive reticella and punto in aria, and was used in the same ways.
The earliest bobbin lace was made up of 4-thread braids which would interlace each other where the pattern lines crossed.