The origin of velvet
FERAGGIO is known for its timeless design but also our ability to give a little twist to it. We play with colors and especially materials. One of our most unique collections is the velvet style. It is a luxurious material we see in clothing but is often overlooked in shoes.
We all know velvet as a soft material, it is not for nothing we type things as ‘velvety smooth’. Velvet refers to the structure of the fabric. It is a type of woven tufted fabric in which the threads are cut short. The density of the threads is what makes this fabric so soft. This luxurious feel has been recognized early on. The fabric was often associated with nobility because of the high cost of production, its softness and its fancy look.
Velvet started in the east and eventually via merchants, blew over to Europe. Artisans in Venice started producing and dying velvet until in the 16th century even craftsman in Bruges became true masters at the velvet craft. Velvet had its golden age during the renaissance. The fabric became more accessible for more people during the industrialization when machines took over what hands had been doing centuries before.
Many famous garments were made from the material. Even the iconic Princess Diana, would grace events, dressed in velvet dresses. However, the most famous velvet dress is probably that of Dolley Madison, one of the strongest first ladies in history. Dolley Madison was the first lady during 1809 and 1817 when President James Madison was in office. She would sometimes act like the first lady before that when Thomas Jefferson was in office since he was a widower.
On August 24, 1814, during the second war for independence, Robert Ross and his men started burning down government buildings, of which also the white house. Before the fire claimed everything, Dolly rushed in and saved some of her most precious items: the red velvet curtains. Historians, many years later, found a red dress that belonged to her but something was off. The dress was made from a heavier type of velvet than usual. It is easy to imagine that a woman running into a fire to save her curtains, loved the material so much she refashioned them into a dress.
As is the case with everything in fashion, velvet comes and goes. After the popularity started to dwindle, due to the accessibility of the fabric, artists started to imagine what they could do with the fabric instead of stopping at ‘it is expensive and looks pretty’. At FERAGGIO we always attempt to do the same. We try to look further which brought us our new velvet collection. Giving our fashion a bit of an edge while maintaining that classy elegant design, lies at the heart of this collection.