Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Wrap Sesh

In a 1999 article, Vogue announced that the pashmina was officially "dead". I was fairly mournful at the time, considering I had only recently embraced the trendy wrap. However, I now believe that this declaration was a conspiracy designed to steal the fashion fad back from the department store masses (like myself) in order to restore it to the Park Avenue set that made it popular in the first place. (Scroll through the photos of Park Avenue Peerage and you are bound to spot one hanging from the arms of a skinny socialista).

Josephine Bonaparte wrapped in pashmina, a gift from the governor of Kashmir in the 1790's.

Despite being sooo last decade, pashmina shawls and blankets have been produced in Northern India since the 17th century. Each spring, Himalayan mountain goats shed their winter coat. Fibers are collected by villagers and hand-woven into pashmina shawls. High altitudes create fleeces of very fine fiber, making pashmina the softest grade of cashmere and a naturally renewable resource. Because of the rarity and expense of pure pashmina, cashmere and silk are often woven together to create a similar weight and sheen.

Kate Middleton in a Katherine Hooker paisley shawl, March '07

New York Woman on the Street, from The Sartorialist.

Angelina Jolie arriving in Spain, June '07

The versatile and lightweight wraps are particularly useful in mild fall temperatures and airline travel.

Madeleine Trehearne and Harpal Brar combine traditional hand-woven and embroidery techniques with contemporary color and design (seen in a recent Vogue, natch).

13 comments:

The Peak of Chic said...

Brilliant- I'm with you on this. Pashminas are not only stylish, but they're the perfect weight for evening (or mild Fall days here in the South). I like how you tied in the image of Josephine.

decorno.blogspot.com said...

Amen! I bought a dusty pink one in 99 and I *still* use it. I refused to give it up. It's been on every plane ride since (better to bring my own version of a blanket than use those snaky blankets they give you on the plane.

Shawl, scarf, pashmina, call it what you will, but a well dressed woman will always need a wrap.

Laura said...

There is no better accessory than a wrap for weddings, cocktail parties, etc. I foolishly didn't buy one after I read that in Vogue, and I'm always so jealous of the ones I see on others!

Style Court said...

Brilliant post on so many levels :) I loved this one.

Habitually Chic said...

I have a camel colored cashmere scarf from Christopher Fischer that I've had for more than eight years that I still wear. Everyone in the city wears their scarves looped around their neck the minute there's a chill in their air. It's kind of funny but also very stylish.

ALL THE BEST said...

I love my pashminas!! Always in style!!!! One of the best accessories around!

katiedid said...

So funny about Vogue...in then out then in. I say something like this is always IN!

marta said...

oooh, i love these. they are my favorite blankey for airplanes. will buy them in every color when i get the chance. beauuuutiful blog.

Sarah Jennings said...

Great post - I love that you combined art, fashion, and royalty (well, Kate Middleton will probably end up marrying Prince William, so close enough!).

Mrs. Blandings said...

This is so timely for me! Am attending an outside event Friday and there is supposed to be a bit of a chill - I was thinking, "pashmina would be perfect," but floundering a bit. As with most things, if you give the wave a chance to crest, you can always keep using the good stuff.

atlanta social said...

I bought them early in college (last century) because they were all over Vogue, but they never went out of style. For me.

franki durbin said...

oh how I love a good conspiracy theory! I have to admit, I was despondent myself when I read it was on the 'out' list with so many fashion magazines... and then perplexed when we returned to Italy last fall only to see them on every stylish woman I saw. I kid you not, it was as though the trade mags had deemed them 'out' for domestic use so that our lovely Italian friends could keep them all rather than export the fine cashmere wraps.

Needless to say I bought three while I was there and never looked back. Who says I have to follow the rules of Vogue magazine anyway?

LOL!

Anonymous said...

Kate is the cutest little thing ever.
I love her fashion sense

-Zane of ontario honey