Luxury, beauty, refinement, sensuality, elegance - silk is synonymous with all of these qualities.
No fibre - natural or manmade - rivals its versatility.
Silk is light but strong, smooth and soft, supremely adaptable.
It can be made wonderfully warm or deliciously cool.
It can be dyed with infinite subtlety or boldness of colour.
When worn or draped, its fluidity is spellbinding. The Book of Silk tells the rich history of this remarkable material through five millennia, reproducing hundreds of fabrics, furnishings and garments from all parts of the world.
From ancient China, where the secret of reeling silkworm cocoons was first discovered, the narrative leads by the legendary Silk Routes to Byzantium and the Islamic world, to Ottoman Turkey and India - and on to the Renaissance, and the baroque and rococo silks of western Christendom. In modern times the fashion industry yields a wonderful array of designs, from Fortuny and Balenciaga, to Poiret and Schiaparelli.
At every stage, silk's status as the most prized fabric of all ensured that it drew the most creative talents of every period, from anonymous Chinese masters to the celebrated couturiers of France and Italy. A dazzling selection of illustrations, many drawn from private collections, reveals silk's omnipresence in couture and decoration, carpets, embroidery and even painting.
Complete with a detailed reference section that includes terms and technical processes, collecting and care, galleries and museums, and a bibliography, The Book of Silk will appeal to anyone interested in history, fashion, beauty and textiles.