We're seeing a lot of velvet in both bags and shoes this season. Velvet gleaming and luxurious look and feel peeked out in almost every collection which was worth to look at. There is no doubt: velvety fashion in all its shades will appease your tactile sense this fall. Velvet’s innate opulence channels well the baroque mood of the fall-winter catwalks as in Gucci … but velvet can also be the antithesis of royal cloaks and give a new take on structured garments as in Comme des Garçons or be paired with voile on geometric dreamlike skirts as in Christopher Kane.
So velvet is no longer underground - pun intended, sorry! – but its newfound versatility shouldn’t surprise you, or at least it didn’t surprise us at Lido Venezia. We often define ourselves a true “velvet appreciation society” and we’re committed, also through our bags, to spread the word about what is the real thing.
So what is that makes Italian velvet, and Venetian velvet in particular, so special? A little bit of historic context first.
In this velvet-mania what you-maybe- don’t know is that one of the first European production of artistic velvet started in Venice. Venice history as the main hub of luxury cloth trade began in the 13th century, when it took control of the silk business from its bases in the Middle East. With Venetian merchants importing raw silk from the East and the arrival of expert weavers from Lucca in Tuscany in the 14th century, velvet production became a real industry with more than 30,000 residents involved by the 16thcentury.
Velvet became part of the city identity. Take a look at the splendid worn by the subjects of Venetian Renaissance paintings. If you happen to go to London’s National Gallery, have a look at Titian’s painting “Man with a Quilted Sleeve”. In this portrait of an anonymous Venetian gentleman, the rich and elegant robe is the chief protagonist of the painting, thanks to the magnificence of the sky-blue large and swollen silk velvet sleeve.
By the 1700s, Venice geopolitical dominance was long faded but it remained the chic party capital of Europe and the continent’s most fashionable city thanks to its flourishing textile industry. With Napoleon invasion however most of the historic mills were closed to reduce competition with the French silk industry (Ah les Français, toujours les Français!)
What makes today the Venetian velvet heritage?
Venice and its neighbourhood is still home of a handful of velvet houses, very well known by some happy few, mostly architects and discerning fashion designers. They appreciate the splendid yet softened depth of dye-colour and the magnificent textures of the Venetian velvet. Thanks to different weaving techniques (most of them meticulously carried out hand) Venetian velvet producers can subtly vary the colour of pile, produce pile of different lengths (pile upon pile, or double pile), and brocade with plain silk, with uncut pile or even with a ground of gold tissue (as recently done for a Middle Eastern royal family heir gown). These rich production techniques are at the hearth of an unmatched versatility that can channel both traditional and modern design, without losing quality. This is what makes Venetian velvet standing out compared to other more industrialised productions.
For our Peggy and Cheeky Sailor bags we decided to celebrate Venice and the glory of Venetian velvet by designing a pattern inspired by the floor of San Giorgio Church. With our Venetian supplier we studied the perfect consistency of the textile to ensure gleam and softness to the touch. But in developing the velvet, we also thought about creating a textile able to support the structure of the bag, so that your will remain vibrantly beautiful through the years.
This combination of heritage and modernity makes our Geometric Velvet Medium Peggy and Cheeky Sailor bags a real epitome of Lido Venezia philosophy and, we hope, a statement of a less obvious luxury for their lucky owners.
Leave a comment
Comments will be approved before showing up.