This is the garment that I have chosen to investigate. This image was out of the La Perla A/W 15 catalogue and this is called the La Perla silk essence pajama top and it is described as ‘Elegant silk satin cassock top characterized by georgette frills’. This garment is 95% Silk and 5% Elastane. I have chosen this garment because I love silk and I wanted to research into orientalism and the use of silk for this trend back around in the 18-1900s.

Orientalism, Especially in France brought sensuality to European lifestyle in the 1910s and 1920s. Cosmetics, perfumes, clothing, decor and films were draped in woven silks. The 19th century brought an era of universal expositions such as silks from China, shawls and Kimonos from Japan.

An example of Garments in the Orientalism period in the 1900’s


Silks in the 1800’s were made by using a loom, Technical innovations to the loom happened throughout the 18th century because weavers needed to speed up the process of loom preparation and weaving to create more silks. It was only until the early 18th century that the identity of individual silk designers became known.

A Fortuny pleated gown worn by Lilian Gish.


Mario Fortuny (1871-1949) was a Spanish painter and inventor. The pleated silk that he created was a process he used and he created amazing colours all using vegetable dyes, which was a refreshing change from the dull aniline dyes that were used around this time. His garments had batwing sleeves and were silk and silk velvet.

Back then they would have used different silks to what La Perla use now, the silks may have been more costly and not practical for every day use. Silk can’t be tumble dried so it is known as a luxury fabric now but back then they would of hand washed it and left it out to dry. Now silk is known as a practical fabric for everyday use, where as back in the 1800’s and 1900’s it may have been a luxury fabric only worn for special occasions. La Perla uses a lot of silk and satin silk for their garments but back in the 1800 and 1900s a variety of silks were used such as duppioni, regency silks, and satin. Other silks were used but these were the most popular.

From this research I have learned that it was in the early 18th century that silk designers first became popular and therefore silk has been around for a very long time. I still think that silk is seen as a luxurious material as it is used in more pricey garments however I don’t know for certain if silk was known as a luxurious material in the 1800-1900’s.


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