The other day in Valencia we visited La Lonja de la Seda, also known as Silk Exchange, the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Valencia and considered the most important and best preserved example of Late Gothic architecture in all of Europe. The building has almost a magic to it, especially when you walk through the Orange Tree Garden, a serene walled courtyard with a tinkling fountain in its centre.
We could just imagined how the merchants were going about their business of getting the best from here to anywhere else in the world, mostly dealing in a precious commodity: silk. The silk trade was Valencia’s most important industry between the 14th and 18th centuries and the city’s port was the silk trade connection throughout the Mediterranean Sea.
Looking at Spanish designs from the Delpozo Resort 2017 collection or Loewe we feel and see the strength not only of Spanish craftsmanship but the precious care of the fine material. It is about colour, texture and luminosity and silk has all the attributes to achieve that. You have silk in every collection thanks to its many benefits, just to list a few.
• Silk is breathable and regulates body temperature as well as moisture. It keeps you cool on hot days and through warm nights.
• Silk is lightweight and extremely soft, making it easy to layer.
• Silk has a natural luster from its smooth threads, giving a beautiful appearance.
• Silk is surprisingly easy to care for and will retain its beauty for years. It even naturally repels mold and mildew.
• Silk fibers are naturally elastic, and can stretch up to 20% without breaking.
LITTLE SILK HISTORY
Silk production originated in ancient China and it became the nation’s most well guarded secret. The precious fabric was frequently exported to other countries, but for a long time no one outside of China knew how it was made. It wasn’t until the 6th century that two monks from the Byzantine Empire smuggled silkworm eggs out of China. Silk production finally reached Europe in the 13th century. Modern technology has changed the way silk is made, but it still has a reputation in the fashion industry for being the ultimate in glamour and luxury.
Here are some of IRMA’s favorite silk pieces of the season (pictured on the front slider are designs by Spanish fashion houses Delpozzo Resort 2017 and Loewe winter 2016):