Out of favour for a long time, velvet is getting back into gear in 2017

Made from silk or tufted in the Genoese style, worn on shoes or a short skirt, used as upholstery for sofas or hung at windows...velvet has been around for centuries, but had recently fallen out of favour. But this year, it is making a spectacular global comeback in the fashion world.


Villosus. The origins of velvet can be found in this Latin term meaning "hair". In wool, hemp, cotton or silk, threads are first woven then shaved or cut after being evenly distributed. A thousand-year-old technique.


Another look at velvet


A thousand years old. Only last year, some people still thought this fabric belonged in the dark ages; it had become completely passé, irredeemably associated with 70s flares or your aged auntie's old armchairs. But since last winter, things have changed. Out of nowhere, velvet has crept back into our wardrobes and home furnishings. A capsule furniture collection has been designed in velvet by the Designers Guild for Ikea. Gucci has swathed its new it-bag, Miulady, in the soft fabric and catwalk models are draped in silken velvets.  Balmain, Comme des Garçons, Saint Laurent… From Zara over-the-knee boots to American Apparel dresses, from subtle touches to head-to-toe velours, soft accents are adorning figures and interiors.


Quiet strength


If the strength of a fabric is measured by the length of its life, then velvet is in fine form. History shows that enthusiasm for this fabric is universal, regardless of social class. Its strength and brilliance were tried and tested on the luxurious gowns of King Francis I of France, the frock coats of 19th century gentlemen and the trousers of peasant workers. It is a material that, even when made of threads less noble than pure silk – and therefore less expensive – can guarantee an equally delicate touch.


A sensual fabric


Perhaps the secret to its longevity lies in the pleasure of touching it, the importance of creating a sensual relationship with clothing. A second skin that is much more pleasant than itchy wool at your neck and a soft cocoon in a world in crisis. Maybe that's why 2017 is the year of velvet.  For cushions, curtains, elegant shoes and dandy attire alike.  Just another passing fad?  Or a reassuring nod to the past?

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