Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dress Inspiration. Oriental Bohemia

   Recently I was invited for a tea party to a very unique house. The richly-patterned oriental rugs were a plush cushion for my feet and I smelled cardamom as I was seated by the hostess. On the wall I noticed unusual framed art, somewhat resembling fabric with golden threads.

 As I was sipping tea and munching on traditional oriental deserts, I asked the hostess about the shiny "art" that had caught my attention. As she began, for a moment I forgot I lived in America, as my imagination transformed me to Central Asia, particularly to Uzbekistan, and I listened to her fascinating story about the fabric on the wall...

She recited an old legend about a khan who wanted to marry for the fifth time. He was very old but very rich. He saw a poor artist's daughter, fell in love and chose her to become his wife. The artist distressed by khan's decision rushed to the palace and begged khan not to touch his beloved daughter. Khan announced that would reverse his decision only if the artist created something more beautiful than his daughter. The artist was really saddened, couldn't sleep and walked to the creek. At dawn he noticed a rainbow reflecting on still water, as he wept, his tears dropped into the water and created an intricate tie-dye effect of the bright rainbow hues. The artist was so mesmerized that he weaved a unique fabric, as light as a cloud, as cool as the mountain air and reflecting all rainbow colors. He brought the fabric to khan and he was so enchanted by the beauty of fabric that he named it "khan silk" and released the young girl.
Apparently, it was ikat silk cut in pieces and framed but the intricate patterns still remained intact. Ikat fabric is a traditional fabric in Uzbekistan and mostly used for female attire.

 Ikat caught my attention not only for its unique textural qualities but also because of its tribal roots, and tribal elements have really been present on runways for Spring/Summer 2012.

Missoni S/S 2012 via here

Also, ikat pattern has been spotted in Thakoon Addition S/S 2012 collection  on Net-a-Porter.

Thakoon Addition ikat dress $550 via here

Thakoon Addition ikat dress $890 via here
That evening was a very special tea party for me as I gained new perspective on the culture of Uzbekistan (a country I knew nothing about before). I was even more intrigued and grateful when the hostess gifted me one of her traditional dresses and now I'm so excited to work with a piece of "khan's silk" and make it into my own unique outfit for the approaching Spring. Tomorrow is March 1, remember??

The new dress is in its' finishing stages and I hope you'll see me wearing it by the end of this week.

What did you think of this story?
Have you ever wanted to transform a garment of ancient tradition into something modern for today?
Let me know!

All fabric images by DC2NYConfessions


psychelyn said...

That's an interesting story, informative as well. Bringing ancient traditions into modern life I think is a great idea. It brings harmony to both past and present.

Glad to follow your blog :)

kathy said...

great inspiration!
the prints are gorgeous :)


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Liz - So Much to Smile About said...

Love all these patterns and prints - so beautiful!

Rowena @ rolala loves said...

I've always liked the ikat pattern but never knew the story behind it so thanks for sharing!

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rolala loves

two birds said...

what a great story...who knew? and what a nice waitress!

Skinny Moonstick said...

Wow, this story is amazing and heart-felt... I love this print, and it's so interesting how such history brings such beauty!
Good luck!

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Mel Rivera said...


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