The luxurious velvet trend
Every season, there is one trend that surpasses all of the other seasonal trends—one that captures designers’ hearts and attention. This winter, the overwhelming trend has been velvet. While this super-soft fabric always experiences a rebirth of sorts in winter, Fall/Winter 2016/17 is velvet. From high end to high street, shops are abundant in this luxurious textile.
After years of minimalist fashion taking hold post-recession—simple, unfussy, and austere—there has been a surge back to nostalgic, vintage, and retro fabrics and designs in recent, more abundant times. So, it’s no surprise that velvet has taken this season by storm—a fabric that originated in the 13th Century and has historically has been associated with nobility and royalty. First sold by Kashmiri merchants, it was mainly produced in Cairo for rulers of kingdoms.
In days of old, only the extremely wealthy—kings, queens, and nobles—could afford velvet. This was because production techniques involved weaving expensive Chinese silk. Nowadays, fabrics such as viscose and rayon are added to silk to create velvet, making it affordable for all, but still luxurious to look at. An added benefit of these new methods is durability. Velvet used to be incredibly delicate, but is now hardy enough to adorn everything from trainers by Buscemi to New Era baseball caps, an iconic Vetements gold velvet outerwear jacket, and even the platform heels of Miu Miu and Prada pumps.
Velvet is also more versatile than it was in the olden days—no longer resigned to traditional rich hues of ruby or emerald, but now ablaze in every colour from pink to silver. This modernity was on display as Valentino created sunshine yellow velvet dresses, while Alberta Ferretti offered a luxurious blush-hued pyjama suit, and Roberto Cavalli created a bohemian purple trouser suit.
While velvet has long been a staple of dresses, smoking jackets, and traditional men’s slippers, this year its versatility has seen it featured everywhere. From the summer’s hot trend of chokers, velvet has graced D&G embellished headbands and box clutches, Lanvin quilted clutches, and Stefania Mode velvet belts. No item of clothing or accessory has been safe from a splash of velvet.
Designers also matched velvet with other fabrics to create some stunning offerings for Fall/Winter 2016. Stella McCartney married black velvet with mesh shoulders and contrast lace detailing to create the wonderful “Caroline” blouse. Vincenzo Grillo offered a mixed velvet cape in dark bottle green. The Opening Ceremony Ready to Wear Fall Winter 2016 collection featured an iconic carmine modern bomber jacket, skirt, and trousers, with contrast metal zips and studs.
So why is it that we love velvet so much—that it has survived the test of time? Therapists have highlighted a number of reasons behind our love of this textile. They point out that in tactile terms, it is warm and soft, and even has a calming effect when rubbed. When worn, it feels comfortable—not itchy like wool can be, or clingy like polyester. Yet its luxurious look still conveys the lustrous appearance of glamour and luxury.
Whether you opt for a velvet cami, a full-length gown, or a quirky accessory, get your hands on a few velvet items this season for a winter wardrobe that is fit for a queen.