Something that does not get recognised is that each woven jacquard silk requires a technician to plot each design by hand so that the machine will interpret the design. It is not simply a matter of plugging it into a computer. Here are two examples of designs which were about to be processed into cloth. The second shot shows the colours of silks which are used to weave the colours of the design.
Above: Left: Michael D wears 'Dennis' bow, Centre: Michael K wears 2010 'Anchors' Limited Edition bow, Right: Vasilli wears Holland and Sherry Velvet Mayfair Pre-Tied Bow. Available online at www.lenoeudpapillon.com
Le Noeud Papillon is maintaining it's support of Bow Club, a place where dressing well is not frowned upon. Bow Club is for Fridays only. All Le Noeud Papillon customers are welcome. Please log onto www.bowclub.com.au if you wish to make a reservation.
One of the things I love about the French is their ability to balls things up in translation. Yesterday I was translating something from French to English - which had already been through a translator -but which still needed tweaking. My French friends here are extremely intelligent, much smarter than I am, but it still amuses me to see how they re-work language. And at the same time I was in a bookstore on Rue Bretagne buying some French books for my French classes back home - when I stumbled upon an ideal book from which to work off with my French tutor. When I looked at the cover I said 'That's not right". But there it was, Gatsby Le Magnifique....
For any of you who saw my recent post, my friend Beatrice St Laurent has opened an amazingly avant-garde gallery in the Marais on Rue Charlot. Any of you coming to Paris should take a look at it. Her philosophy is to commission new artwork from existing and newly emerging talent throughout Europe. Her first series includes ten artists, with work ranging from lighting and furniture to dresses and jewelry. The New York Times recently published a brief overview of her gallery which probably explains her concept better than I can.
Thomas Heydon is wearing here an LNP DJ bow tie. On his face are Graz Sunglasses (www.grazmulcahy.com) which have caused an endless stir since I've been in Paris. This model, the KMC, has been particularly successful. The other glasses, which I brought to Paris were the 'Nick's' - named after me (long story) but which also have unique character. One thing is for sure, I am returning to Sydney minus two pairs which have been bought or begged from me. Well done Graz.
If you ever have a big night in Paris, one of the best hangover cures is to visit to Les Bains Du Marais located on Rue Des Blanc Manteaux in the Marais. You get a locker, a robe, a towel, a pair of underpants and slippers. Inside the hamam you can also get a gommage, where a matronly woman strips you down to your birthday suit and cleans you like your mother would have as a child, heavy handedly.... until you are clean as a whistle. Afterwards you can take tea, coffee or eat from an excellent menu which includes a well put together club sandwich or else the penne foie grois which is excellent.
Above: The Silk thread which forms the weft is placed onto rollers which feed the silk into the machine. Up to 8 colours can be chosen to weave in and out of the warp which forms the base material.
Above: The warp determines the quality and tightness of the weave. Generally, in jacquard woven silks, the higher the number of yarns per centimere, the greater the tightness of the weave. For example, a 112 yarn silk means that there are 112 individual yarns per centimetre. This means that if the silk machine makes rolls of 140 centimetres wide, then there are over 15,680 yarns which cover the span of the silk roll. Yarns can go all the way up to 200 yarns per centimetre, although the cost to produce such silks is usually price prohibitive.
Every single one of these yarns must not be broken in order for the machine to make a seemless run. Therefore, there are 15,680 steel pins which monitor the progress of the silk. Should one stran of silk break, the pin drops and the machine comes to halt requiring the operator to re-bind the thread. Production machines such as these produce 1 lineal metre of silk per hour.
As you can see, silk production is a tricky business, requiring dilligence, patience and intelligence.
The tradition of making fine silks has been with the Italians since the late 1600's, arriving firstly in Genoa. 300+ years later and silk remains one of the most highly sort after materials. It's protein make up similar to that of human skin, making it the preferred and most natural cloth for humans to wear.
Sadly, with even prestigious fashion production houses now moving more and more of their production to China, many of the once thriving mills have been forced to close, some taking their own businesses to China as well. This is a very sad time for the Italian silk industry as the lack of support from European nations as well as the world's continual dependency on Chinese low prices will see a decline in production of fine silks and limiting access to such goods to only the top end of the consumer market.
Higher grade silks of approximately 155 yarns per cm.
A catalogue selection of polka dot silks.
The Silk Weaving Machine - feeding through the warp as the machine runs the weft back and forth. This kind of technique is hundreds of years old though nowdays it runs more technically with the help of computers.