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Silk

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This gorgeously illustrated volume not only offers a tour through the fascinating history of silk but also a glimpse into the future, when imaginative designers and textile producers will be changing the boundaries of what is possible with this extraordinary material. Textile expert Mary Schoeser presents an authoritative account of the development of silk, its properties and practical uses, and its role in some of the greatest achievements in the history of fashion design.
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Overview

This gorgeously illustrated volume not only offers a tour through the fascinating history of silk but also a glimpse into the future, when imaginative designers and textile producers will be changing the boundaries of what is possible with this extraordinary material. Textile expert Mary Schoeser presents an authoritative account of the development of silk, its properties and practical uses, and its role in some of the greatest achievements in the history of fashion design.
Silk is magical. Made by worms, it is able to absorb up to thirty times its weight in water, it is warmer than wool, and it is unsurpassed for beauty and touch. Schoeser focuses keen attention on silk’s evolution as a symbol of status and substance, then traces its central function in 19th- and 20th-century glamour, expressed through the work of designers from Christian Dior to Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga to Emmanuel Ungaro. Schoeser also examines the innovative use of silk by today’s cutting-edge designers, among them Alexander McQueen, Issey Miyake, and John Galliano of Dior. She concludes with a detailed investigation of new silk technologies and how they continue to extend both the physical properties of silk and the possibilities for creative design.

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Editorial Reviews

Winterthur Portfolio - Pamela A. Parmal
"A volume that combines an illuminating text with carefully chosen, extravagant illustrations that support and enhance the written word."—Pamela A. Parmal, Winterthur Portfolio
Library Journal

Silk-sensual, versatile, refined-is magical. Made by worms, it can absorb up to 30 times its weight in water and is warmer than wool. Schoeser (fashion & textiles, Central St. Martin's Coll. of Art & Design, London; World Textiles: A Concise History) presents a historical account of silk's development and its role as a stimulus to trade and cultural exchange. She also discusses sericulture, the industry that breeds silkworms, produces the eggs, conserves valuable genetic strains, prepares the cocoons, and draws and throws the threads. She liberally covers the many uses of silk and its role in fashion design and concludes with a detailed investigation of new silk technologies and the textile's use by today's cutting-edge designers. Julien Macdonald, one such designer, writes the foreword; Bruno Marcandalli (director, Inst. for Silk Research, Milan) contributes; and Silvio Farago authors the discussion of sericulture. A few other books have been recently published on silk, but this one has more than 250 color illustrations showing the beauty and versatility of this fascinating textile, a feature that makes it an important reference work for contemporary designers. Recommended for large public libraries as well as for special libraries with collections in textiles and fabric design and especially fashion design.
—Sylvia Andrews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300117417
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2007
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 11.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Schoeser is senior research fellow in fashion/textiles at Central St. Martin’s College of Art & Design in London. She has served as historic textiles advisor to English Heritage and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Among her many books is World Textiles: A Concise History. Julien Macdonald is a leading designer of couture and ready-to-wear fashions. In 2001 he was named British Designer of the Year, and he was creative director of Givenchy in Paris from 2001 to 2004. Bruno Marcandalli is director of Institute for Silk Research (Stazione Sperimentale per la Seta) in Milan and professor of the chemistry and technology of coloring substances at the Università dell’Insubria, Como.

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