Browsing Tag

fabric

A History of Linen

By June 28, 2019 FASHION, INSPIRATION
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How one of the oldest fabrics in the world became the must-have fabric of summer

Linen is a firm favourite for summer, loved for its simple and elegant qualities. It is well known to wick moisture away from the body and keep you cool, while being iron-free and highly durable.. what’s not to love!?

This summer, linen has gained huge momentum, appearing in store after store in beautiful designs and colours. Most snapping up the trend do not realise the long and fascinating history behind the fibre, so let’s dive in and take a closer look at linen’s journey through the centuries. 

 

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Linen, made from the fibres of the flax plant, is one of the oldest textiles in the world. Historians believe the flax plant was first domesticated in ancient Mesopotamia and discoveries of linen fabric have been found dating back many thousands of years.  The process of turning flax fibres into linen is a difficult and laborious one. The plant is temperamental and requires a great deal of attention during its growth and once ready for harvest it is a long process to extract the fibre from the stalk. In addition, flax fibres are not elastic, and therefore it is difficult to weave them without breaking the threads.

 

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With such a long and tedious journey to attain this raw material it is a wonder that linen every came about! However, possibly because of this long process, linen became a sought after quality especially among the elite and wealthy. Linen was a symbol of status and a luxury fabric to be seen wearing. Moreover, in some areas, such as ancient Egypt, priests wore linen and it was even used for burial shrouds because the fibre was seen to symbolise light, purity and wealth. Linen was so valued, that in a curious fact, for a time it was even used as currency!

 

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With the invention of the flax spinning wheel in the 15th century, linen production grew quicker and faster and it became cheaper to purchase linen household items. However this coincided with cotton production seeing an increase and it became increasingly popular, eventually surpassing linen. Nevertheless, advancements only continued over the years until linen peaked in the 19th century with large scale improvements in farming practices and as machinery fully mechanised linen production. At this point, linen truly took off. It became available for a variety of uses: bedding, bath fabrics, upholstery, tablecloths and books. It was and still is the preferred traditional support for oil paintings.

 

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Skipping forward to more recent time, in the 1970s, linen experienced another evolution when the bulk of production shifted from household items to clothing. It was at this point that people truly embraced the fabric in a multitude of fashion forms, from the hippie movement, to the cool sophistication of white linen. Linen was appreciated for its hard wearing quality, because it was cool to touch, smooth and loved for the fact that it got softer with repeated washing. Les 100 Ciels incorporates linen styles into our collections year after year and this season we have truly embraced a range of colours and styles to suit every woman. Shop our linen styles here!

 

 

 

 

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A history of Tennis Fashion

By June 19, 2018 INSPIRATION
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Since 1877, Wimbledon Tennis has been one of the most recognised tennis championships, hosting hundreds of royals, celebrities, and visitors from around the world and playing a central role in the foundation of many famous tennis careers. As far back as the nineteenth century, the accepted tennis outfit for players were plain white, long-sleeved shirts and trousers for men and full-length corseted white dresses and hats for women. It was not until the 1920s and 1930s that the players, (particularly the female players), began to experiment with their clothing. Shorter skirts, shorts and sleeveless tops were all introduced, some more daring than others, to provide ease of movement and an expression of individual personality and style.

While tennis style evolved to be practical and comfortable this was never at the expense of fashion. High-profile athletes like Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova found their own ways to have fun with their outfits, (think tennis dresses made of lace and even denim) and often attract as much attention for what they wear as their backhands. Tennis outfits have often inspired the masses too, like the white V-neck sweater used by Bill Tilden, still today remaining a classic staple in men’s fashion.

Advances in technology have also changed the way tennis outfits look and function. Embracing of nylon, spandex, and other synthetic fabrics has boosted the performance of the players, who were till then wearing everyday fibres, voluminous skirts and heavy undergarments.

We take a brief look back over the years at tennis and the players standing out sartorially on the tennis court.

1900s

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Tennis became very popular in Victorian England, and the clothing matched the fashion of the day: tennis wear was dresses with high collars and long sleeves. Women played tennis in floor-length skirts, stockings, and long-sleeved tops (all of which prevented a full range of mobility). White was the colour of choice and became synonymous with tennis, symbolic of the wealthy upper classes at the time.

1920s

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The Flapper era brought many changes; French tennis player, Suzanne Lenglen caused a stir when she played Wimbledon with bare arms and a knee-length hemline and she was the first to bring headbands on the court. During that decade, French tennis player René Lacoste created lightweight, breathable cotton shirts (now known as polo shirts) and started mass-producing them in 1933. Today, the Lacoste brand continues to manufacture the tops emblazoned with the iconic crocodile (“The Crocodile” was Lacoste’s nickname).

1930s

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In the 1930s, Helen Wills Moody’s courtside uniforms fit in with the loose and boxy silhouettes of the time. Instead of impractical long skirts, Moody preferred to wear pleated knee-length skirts and her signature white visor.

1950s

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Women’s tennis uniforms in the 1950s were all about cinched waists, tight cardigans, and feminine pleated skirts, seen here on the American actress Donna Reed. At the same time, following his retirement, British tennis player Fred Perry launched his namesake sportswear brand in 1952.

1960s

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Mod fashion took the 1960s by storm and quickly arose in tennis outfits. Streamlined tunics were popular, as well the graphic print shorts worn by English players and Marlys Burel of France.

1980s

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From the 70s and widely adopted in the 80s, the bright yellow tennis ball was adopted so that it could be more easily spotted in televised matches, replacing black or white tennis balls from previous years. The decision had an impact on the tennis wardrobe as well, as players opted out of the formal white dress code and began wearing a palette of pastels or bright neon on the court, as seen here on Steffi Graf.

2000s

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Anna Kournikova and Maria Sharapova are two tennis players who became almost as famous for what they would wear on the court as they were for their stellar performances. While Kournikova favoured short, tight, and bikini inspired outfits, Sharapova designed all of her uniforms, adding menswear elements and Swarovski crystals.

2010

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The world famous Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, ushered in an era of outlandish outfits that demanded attention on the court—red and black lace dresses, glitter and diamante and revealing cuts and embellishments. There was no denying their brilliance in tennis and the fashion of the sport.

2018

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Brand endorsements have moved to a whole new level and love it or hate it, are becoming a symbol of a player’s status and have a huge impact on their clothing. Players such Ana Ivanovic regularly displays colourful clothing from Adidas, and Caroline Wozniacki is the latest muse for Stella McCartney’s line for the brand.

With Wimbledon tennis around the corner (2nd July – 15th July), we are eagerly waiting to see which fashion trends will dominate the court this year! What do you think?

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SS16 Designer’s Inspiration

By January 22, 2016 BEHIND THE SCENES, NEW ARRIVALS
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New season, new knitwear!

Want to be in the know about next season’s key shapes and colours? Look no further than our interview with the brains behind the new Spring Summer ’16 styles, our Head Designer Stephanie.

She tells us what inspired her designs this season by showing us a glimpse of her moodboard, and explains what qualities we will all be wearing this summer. Bring on the warmer months!


 

“This season, we’ve taken inspiration from the minimal 90’s decade, with particular emphasis on structure and simplistic silhouettes. We’ve used references from the archives of couture design and combined this with interesting yarn techniques for a modern feel.”

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“We’ve looked at primitive, tribal influences to inform our print designs. The main focus for colour has come from the work of artist Callum Innes. He uses a method of layering pigments of colour, which results in a vivid array of tones. We’ve translated these varying hues into a fusion of pale pink, grey marls and indigo ombré details.”

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“In this Spring Summer season, we’ve focused on using natural fabrics like washed silks, linen and cotton. Our signature summer quality, cotton poplin, gives you a freshness when worn making it perfect for warmer days! We’ve also experimented with hand-dyed fabrics, making each piece one-of-a-kind.”

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 “Box pleats, fused trims and slim forms are the key design details and silhouettes for the season. We have also developed the cape shape, which can be seen across dresses, tops and coats. I like to pair these pieces with our slim-lines styles to create an elegant shape that’s versatile and modern.”

Coming soon….

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