Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Velvet Takes Center Stage

There are few fabrics that can match the elegant feel of velvet, and this fall it was all over the runway. Yay! I love velvet for many reasons. Obviously you can't match the soft hand, but what makes it such a fantastic textile to design with and to wear is its beautiful drape. When treated properly, velvet falls beautifully on the figure and gives an unmatchable fluidity. Of course the best effects are achieved by using silk velvet. A good rayon follows in close second.

        Nina Ricci, fall 2014, Vogue UK

Velvet is categorized as a pile fabric, meaning that it is woven with an extra set of yarns that are cut to create a 3-D effect. 
There are basically 3 types of 'velvets' used in apparel and their characteristic differences are primarily from the fiber content:

     Velvet - made from silk, rayon, or sometimes a blend, higher pile. This has a 'nap' which refers to the direction the yarns sit (think cat fur) and affects the way the light reflects. Crushed velvet is created from traditional velvet where the nap has been manipulated.  Crushed velvets may also be referred to as panne' velvets.
     Velveteen - made from an inclusion of cotton fibers. It has lower pile and less drape. This is the fabric often used in a tailored jacket.
     Stretch Velvet - this velvet is knitted, not woven, and of course, stretches. It can also be traditional in appearance or have the nap crushed. 

Many of the pieces this fall seem to pay homage to vintage designs from the glamorous 1930's, like this one from Hellesey - 

Hellessy RTW Fall 2014
                    Hellesey, fall 2014, photo Rodin Banica

Take a peek and compare these two historic pieces from 
Elsa Schiaparelli - 

    Elsa Schiaparelli, 1930's    

   Elsa Schiaparelli, 1930's  

More vintage inspiration from designers 
Elie Saab and Victor & Rolf - 

Elie Saab RTW Fall 2014

               Elie Saab, fall 2014, photo Giovanni Giannoni

Viktor & Rolf RTW Fall 2014
Viktor & Rolf, fall 2014, photo Giovanni Gionnoni


Don't forget the accessories. These pretty evening pumps by 
Christian Louboutin are made even more posh with the black velvet bows. 

So, get your glam on with a little (or a lot) of velvet this fall and enjoy one of the best textiles in history. 

- Janet