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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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Les 100 Ciels travels

By July 24, 2015 Travel
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Our must-see places in Florence.

Florence is renowned for old masters and history, but it’s also a living city with a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene. Handsome and historic, it’s bursting with quirky shops and quality crafts, making it one of Europe’s most civilised weekend destinations.

We spent a busy week researching the latest yarn trends and technology at the Pitti Filati fair, so we were glad for some time to relax and sight-see at the end of the trip.

Read on to see what we got up to in beautiful Florence, showing you our favourite places to shop, eat and visit!

 


 

Where to shop: UB

This quirky store on Via dei Conti is a treasure trove of goodies, full to the brim with antique decorations and retro furniture. Seek out a hidden back room with the most amazing collection of vintage wallpaper, including 60’s floral designs and geometric prints.

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Ub Firenze / Via dei Conti 4r – 50123 Firenze – IT | https://www.ubfirenze.it/


 

Where to shop: Ottod’ame

The beautifully merchandised Ottod’ame sits on Via della Spada and houses a wide range of fashion brands with a concept store feel. While we visiting there was a stunning ‘White Like Milk’ display, showcasing their all white styles along side pops of graphic colour.

 

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Via della Spada 19r | https://www.ottodame.it/


 

Where to eat: Gusta Pizza

You can find Gusta Pizza in one of our favourite areas in the city, just south of the river and surrounded by lovely boutiques and antique shops.

This rough and ready pizzeria makes the most delicious pizza, it’s definitely worth a visit. It’s definitely service with a smile here, the staff are so friendly and welcoming. *They also make heart shaped pizzas!

Top tip: Take out your pizza and eat on the steps of the Basilica di Santo Spirito and people watch the evening away. Follow with an alfresco drink outside one of the bars on the Piazza Santo Spirito!

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46R Via Maggio


 

Where to eat: Gelato Santa Trinita

Let’s face it, you can’t to Italy without sampling the local gelato. This Gelateria has the best in Florence (and that’s saying something!) and sits on a corner with views of the river and the Ponte Vecchio.

Top tip: The Sesamo Nero gelato is a must-try. This mysterious grey ice cream tastes better than it looks (something along the lines of hazelnut but with a more intense flavour).

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Where to go: Boboli Gardens

Walk off the pizza the next day with a day out in the sun at the Boboli Gardens. Enter through the magnificent Palezzo Pitti and you are welcomed by the most beautiful landscaped gardens full of statues, fountains and even mazes.

Spot the pistachio coloured Kaffeehouse, perched halfway up the hill. It has the typical trompe l’oeil frescos on the walls and we could quite easily imagine ourselves living there!

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Entrance is €10 and this includes entrance to the Forte Belvedere and Giardino Bardini.

https://www.polomuseale.firenze.it/en/musei/?m=boboli


 

Where to go: Il Duomo

The cathedral of Florence is known for its distinctive Renaissance dome. Its name Saint Mary of the Flower refers to the lily, the symbol of Florence. The entrance fee allows you to roam through the Cupola (the dome) and the Campanile (the bell tower) and the views are breathtaking from the very top.

Top tip: Visit 23 Via dello Studio to see where the artists and stonemasons devote their time to maintaining and conserving parts of the historic building.

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https://www.ilgrandemuseodelduomo.it/monumenti/1-cattedrale


 

What to see: Forte Belvedere

If you can tear yourself away from the stunning views, Forte Belvedere is currently showing the Antony Gormley HUMAN exhibition until 27th September. His beautiful cast iron figures are displayed throughout the grounds, adapting to their surroundings and differing in relation to their location and position.

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https://whitecube.com/news/antony_gormley_at_forte_di_belvedere_florence_italy/

Photos courtesy of Pinterest

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