• Muslin- The word ‘Muslin’ is believed to derive from Marco Polo’s description of the cotton trade in Mosul, Iraq. Another view is that of fashion historian Susan Greene, who wrote that the name arose in the 18th century from mousse, the French word for “foam.”...

  • Madras Checks: My all-time favorite, and always in fashion, Madras checks stem from a humble origin with fascinating and quirky twists and turns in their journey. The Origin of Madras Checks Fabric Around the 12th century, Madras Checks was a piece of handloom clothing for India’s...

  • The French Art Deco textile movement has been one of the most modern, artistic, and inventive textiles genres.  So painterly was it that Raoul Dufy said about it, “Paintings have spilled out from their frames on to our clothes and our walls.” To understand Art...

  • Chikankari Embroidery, A Lucknawi Tradition. As I turned the pages of Paola Manfredi’s pioneering book on the past and present of Chikankari Embroidery, one of the most luxurious and evergreen traditional embroideries from the Indian Subcontinent,  I feel proud of the culture that has patronized...

  • NATURAL DYES – THE HISTORY OF EXTRACTION OF PLANT PIGMENTS Last week, I had written about dyes extracted from animals. In continuation of the story of natural dyes, I will describe the primary dyes extracted from plant sources and the often violent history associated with...

  • MATISSE’S ART AND TEXTILES: Last week, As I was researching the works of artists who found inspiration in textiles, I came across the book ‘Matisse: His Art and His Textiles.’ Matisse had a blood association with textiles as he was born to a family of...

  • THE HISTORY OF EXTRACTION OF NATURAL DYES-ANIMAL PIGMENTS Can you imagine a world where all our apparel, our interiors, the objects we use in our daily lives were a uniform white or grey? We take color so much for granted that we cannot imagine that...

  • Mughal & Dutch: The Mughal dynasty in India, all the way to  Shah Jahan,  was deeply interested in fine art, manuscripts, and art albums.  Starting with Akbar’s reign, ateliers were set up at Mughal courts to produce volumes of art and illustrated manuscripts. Mughal princes...

  • Indian Textile Trade History: In this article, we will examine the link between Mumbai’s current urban landscape with its history in the cotton trade of India. Mumbai, an urban city of luxurious skyscrapers and destitute slums, was built 400 years ago on seven islands. Before...

  • The Beautiful Indienne, A Textile Story of Switzerland I discussed my recent textile-related reads with a friend when she mentioned the book ‘Indiennes – Material For A Thousand Stories“. The exhibition at the Landesmuseum Zürich published this book in conjugation with their presentation. The name...

  • The Story of Indian Kalamkari : Imagine a textile that is traditionally hand-painted with a bamboo pen, has a history which goes back 3000 years, and was partly instrumental in India losing her independence. That is Kalamkari, with its Persian root ‘Ghalam’ or pen, and...

  • The Story of the Kashmir Shawl  I have a very early memory of a mouse-coloured shawl my mother had which could go through a large man’s ring. I loved doing this so much the shawl was damaged, much to my mother’s dismay. I know today...

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