It can come in a luxurious floral print, a shiny paisley loafer, or even a ferocious tiger-printed sweater. But what do all three of these seemingly different items have in common? The answer is the use of a jacquard print or loom to create the fabric. Though Jacquard has roots in the early sixth century, its popularity began to rise in the early 19th century. Named after creator Joseph M. Jacquard, jacquard sparked a revolution in the creation of embellishment on clothing. More than anything, the jacquard loom helped streamline the process of creating patterns such as damask, brocade and matelassé, which were typically painstakingly produced by hand. What makes jacquard different is that the complex designs are woven into the fabric instead of being placed on top, which was the typical process in the early centuries. The resultant patterns are opulent to the eye and were coveted by women and men alike in the early centuries as a way to flaunt their wealth. At one point in time, the jacquard fabric was only available to the upper nobility on account of its luxe look.
Designers throughout time have consistently used the jacquard fabric including brocade, damask and other intricate fabric embellishment looks in their collections. More than ever, designers are using jacquard embellishments on fabrics ranging from silk to cotton because of the increase in technology today for textile looms. For example, Louis Vuitton often in the brand’s more recent collections has seen a resurgence in the use of a brocade pattern. A purple and blue rose patterned brocade placed against a silver background sets the stage at Louis Vuitton for a show stopping jumpsuit with ruffled shoulders or a sleek deep-cut mini dress. Vuitton has also incorporated the elegant brocade look into an ocean-blue vest embellished to perfection in a variety of gold and silver hues. Gucci is another brand that uses jacquard regularly in collections. Ranging from chunky loafers to silk headbands, the use of jacquard fabric gives Gucci its trademark unusual-chic style look generated by creative director Alessandro Michele. Canadian and Turkish designer Erdem Moralioglu has always championed the brocade throughout his many collections. This season shown at London Fashion Week was no different with looks having been inspired by an Italian Principessa, Orietta Doria Pamphilj. Fuschia and cherry-red flowers adorned sleek black fabrics with full volume skirts while the model’s moody cat-eyes darted on and off the runway.
Today the look and feel of a brocade or damask fabric still resonates as a lavish design even as trends have passed throughout time. Maybe it is the use of many colors and shapes that draw consumers in, or maybe it is the intricate hand-made look that resonates with others as well. Whatever the reason may be, the jacquard look will always reign when it comes to opulent style.
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Image via Louis Vuitton’s Website
Image via Neiman Marcus’ Website