Rich and luxurious fabrics have been making their appearances in the wake of the cold weather. One of my favorite looks to rock during the start of the winter and holiday season is the brocade trend. Yes it can be slightly reminiscent of your grandmother’s sofa cushions, but if done correctly, brocade is definitely one of the ‘must-haves’ for this year. Sprinkle brocade throughout your everyday wardrobe. It pairs wonderfully with wool, silk, cashmere, leather and all of the supple textiles of the season.
Here are just a few fun facts on brocade. Brocade is constructed by loom weaving at least two colored fabrics (often silks) together also with the use of gold or silver thread. During the Middle Ages it was considered one of the few luxury fabrics and was worn by noblemen and noblewoman around the world. Many of the motifs in the fabrics were largely influenced by China, India, Japan, and Byzantium, the countries where these fabrics were created and traded. Silk brocade fabrics also played a huge role in Europe during the Italian Renaissance in the 15th century. It was in Europe that new weaving techniques were invented and where many of the brocades and other silk textiles began their European trade origins.
A little further into the modern day brocade became popular for interior design (a’la grandma’s curtains) – however it continues to be used for apparel everywhere from high end fashion houses to more affordable off-the-rack options. You only need a bit of this luxe textile to pull off the trend and pull your look together. Try it in the form of an evening clutch or pump with a simple silhouette. Or if you’re feeling extra daring, splurge on a vintage (or vintage-inspired) brocade coat!
1. The Hardwick Hall Portrait of Elizabeth I, the Mask of Youth, Hilliard workshop, c. 1599
2. Brocade Satin Fabric, made-in-china.com
6. SMYTHE Tapestry Coat, $695
– Carmen Turner
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