All posts tagged: fabric history

Terminology: What is ciré?

Ciré is a highly glazed wax finish applied to fabric through a process of heat and pressure, known as calendering (remember calamanco?) which is  giving a wet or polished look.  The name can also refer to the fabric or garment with the resultant finish.  The process tends to produce a stiffer, crisper fabric per weight.  It is sometimes, particularly in interior decorating, called a French wax finish. The term dates to the 1910s, when high fashion garments played with contrasts in fabric and textures, and the shiny, wet look of ciré lent an edgy modern twist to combinations of chiffons and brocades and satin. Ciré literally means waxed, so the first references to it are to waxed flowers.  This Worth evening coat features “a collar of ruched velvet, tied with two ribbons held by a roundels of satin and wax flowers”. Ciré treated fabrics were popular throughout the 20s, particularly as ciré ribbons. Ciré reached its zenith in the 30s, when frocks in ciré taffeta, ciré satin, and even ciré lace (ah, a time when shiny …

Terminology: What is chinchilla

I’m not much for fur, but chinchilla has always fascinated me.  I think it is the name.  It’s just so darn cute!  It sounds like a name Disney would invent for an animal. I’m never really thought about what a chinchilla actually was until recently.  When I did begin to wonder, I had to look it up. The chinchilla is a rodent from South America.  It looks like this: OH.MY.GOODNESS Squeee! Cute overload. It’s a fat little mouse with extra big ears and a squirrel tail! Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww! I think they were invented by Disney! Really, could you get any cuter if you tried? I think we need to see more cuteness: Awwwwwwwwwww! Of course, in fashion they aren’t concerned with how gosh darn cute the fat little mice with big ears and fluffy squirrel tails are.  They are concerned with how soft and dense the fur is, because they kill and skin those gosh darn cute fat little big-eared, fluffy-tailed mice for it. Natural chinchilla fur is pale grey with a dark streak running along …

‘Them’ and the silk trade

Things I love about this article: ‘Them’ is used as a (relatively) good term Lots of fabric history! Fabrics named ‘Billowee’ and ‘Krinkle Krepe’ are considered elegant in comparison to ‘Necking Time’ and ‘Razzle Dazzle’ “It was not exactly something new; it was merely old enough to seem new” Reprinted from Times Magazine, Monday September 12, 1932 The U. S. silk industry, to its intense delight, last week found itself suddenly in the midst of a boom. Unlike cotton and woolen men, silk men are much at the mercy of THEM and last week it was gloriously plain that THEY—the fashion designers of Paris, the style buyers and editors from the U. S., and the 40,000,000 U. S. women who wear dresses—had decided on a style change which would require the U. S. silk industry’s most diligent services. THEY do not decide all of a sudden. The blessed event which now delights silk men really began last February when the U. S. style buyers found nothing to excite them at the Paris salons and bitterly …