Making sure you’re well dressed is a question… of the fabric. The rule is this: the right fabric exudes elegance, care. But above all it tells a story, a path, a process. This is why certain fabrics are considered more valuable than others. Some of these, when we ask ourselves which are the most precious fabrics that exist, come to mind very easily: silk, cashmere, certain types of wool. And then again: linen, leather, lace, velvet. A fabric for every season, for every occasion, for every physicality. But what are the five most precious and most loved fabrics by those who make fashion and by those who wear it?
Pure linen: the explosion in the seventies
Fifth place, in the ranking of the five most precious fabrics, for pure linen. It is a fabric loved since the most archaic times: it was already known and produced in ancient Egypt; in Rome the use of linen began to spread towards the end of the Republican era, but saw its maximum diffusion during the Middle Ages (together with cotton). Today it is particularly appreciated in Europe, especially in France, Belgium, Poland and Holland. The largest producer today is Russia. Let us not be misled: the fact that linen is one of the most popular fabrics does not mean that it is not a fine fabric. What makes it so is its rather complex manufacturing process. It is a fabric used especially in collections with hippy-style garments: it had, in fact, great appreciation in the seventies, when socio-cultural phenomena also influenced the world of fashion, leading it to interest in natural materials and informal garments.
Silk: the queen of scarves
It is a purely natural fabric, created thanks to the cocoons of silkworms: the fiber is removed from the cocoons and transformed into threads, which are then processed and woven. Every single thread requires thousands of silkworms: this is why, in addition to its beauty, it is considered a precious fabric and therefore has high costs. It is a fabric particularly loved and chosen by stylists for their most luxurious collections, but it is easy to play with even when you want more casual outfits with an elegant taste. Silk, in the world of fashion, is combined above all with scarves: the very term “foulard”, in fact, means “silk handkerchief” and its origins are rooted even in the BC. Some finds show representations of this “veil” in very ancient China. Pure silk scarves were a symbol of luxury during the reign of Queen Victoria of England in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Cashmere: the most lasting gift you can give
It is a textile fiber, which is obtained from a specific species of goat; it is a light fiber, very soft and with a great thermal insulation peculiarity, ten times warmer than the most commercial sheep’s wool. Cashmere is considered a precious fiber because it is rarer: the goats from which it is made live in certain geographical areas of the world, characterized by particular climatic conditions. To date, cashmere appears to be one of the most sustainable natural fibers, an important detail in a system, that of Fashion, which is increasingly attentive to the dynamics associated with environmental protection. The aphorism of a famous stylist underlines that “no man could make us feel as protected as a cashmere sweater“. It’s not just about aesthetics: a cashmere sweater has often been the choice of many influential figures in the history of fashion, past and present. It’s true: a diamond is forever. But cashmere seems to be too.
Lace: femininity enclosed in a fabric
It is considered one of the most romantic fabrics ever. It is mistakenly believed that lace is the result of an operation that is carried out on a starting fabric, in reality it is a particular processing of the yarns which turns out to be a kind of weaving “in the void”. This makes it possible to obtain a light but above all precious fabric: this is why, in addition to its aesthetics, it is considered a precious fabric. Lace (also called lace) appears on the textile and fashion scene towards the second half of the sixteenth century, especially in Venice. Until the eighteenth century it was a fabric also widely used by men, but over time it has become an almost exclusively female fabric. The art of lace immediately spread to France, then to England, Spain, Switzerland, Asia and South America. Among the most famous laces (needle stitched) are the Norman ones; among the “bolster” laces we find Burano lace (also called Venetian lace).
Vicuna wool: incomparable softness
It is, by far, the most precious and most expensive fabric in the world: vicugna wool is even called “God’s fiber”, a name that comes from its history; in fact, vicuna wool was once worn only by Inca royalty. It comes from the Vicuña sheep, bred in the Peruvian Andes: the manufacturing process, in its frame, is long and particular, takes a long time and involves high processing costs. The result? A softness incomparable to any other fabric.
Other precious fabrics
In addition to those listed, a number of other fabrics are valuable and, therefore, particularly expensive: among these we find selvedge denim, lotus flower fabric, fur (sable is the most precious), cervelt, shatoosh (although there are controversial debates about the legality of this fabric), guanaco wool, leather (crocodile skin, the famous exotic leather, is not only the most expensive but also considered the most luxurious and elegant, followed by leather of ostrich and python. The most loved, however, is chamois leather. In 2015 a famous Italian brand in the world of men’s fashion created a fabric born from the combination of Egyptian cotton (very fine in itself) and 24-karat gold fibers: surely this production too can be included among the most precious to the world.