In our picnic post last time we used design “uma” from our Vivabella collection. “uma” is inspired by an 18th century printing technique called silk warp printing, that combines the art of textile printing and weaving, while creating a remarkable blurred motif that looks as if it was hand-painted.
It was Madame de Pompadour, the royal fashionista of her time, who made the silk warp printing popular. You can still see the blurred line patterns in vague pastels on silk bodices and petticoat skirts in fashion museums. The style was also called Pompadour taffeta or chiné à la branche. Chiné, because the origins of this technique lie in the Indonesian ikat, where the warp threads are printed before the weaving.
Warps are the lenghtwise yarns that are held in tension to draw the weft through. In the silk warp print technique, the design is printed directly onto the silk warps which are held together by temporary cotton weft binding. The cotton binding is then removed and the fabric rewoven with a silk weft blurring exquisitely the printed design like an aquarelle.
The handcrafted technique disappeared because of time and cost but through modern printing techniques it still remains an inspiration for contemporary fashion and fabric collection, just like our “uma" design.