The other day, I was visiting a friend at her home. We were sitting across from each other shooting the breeze, talking about this and that and a bit of all.
She noticed my shoes and complimented me on how good I can put things together, but the surprise was underneath. I lifted my pant legs and showed her my silk stocking in golden olive color.
The look in her face was clearly puzzled as if she was asking: What are you wearing? She was surprised to know that I was wearing silk stockings and was even more surprised to learn that my pair of stockings belonged to my mother fifteen years ago. I have had them for that long and who knows how long my mother had that pair of stockings before I subtracted it from her.
Stockings are not the invention of the last century, au contraire.
They came about when in the late 1600 fashion dictated that men and women would be equally effeminate in their attires, thus competing with each others in elegance and style. It was a must to complete every outfit with silk stocking, red or pink, or sky blue and light yellow for the most refined people. Silk stockings became so popular that Colbert, French Secretary Of State, ordered the building near Paris of a royal manufacture with about 200 looms to produce the silk stockings in a variety of colors. He also founded a professional school where silk stockings became a new subject to study, therefore making it a new branch of fashion until our days.
Of course with colorful silk stockings, the need, or let’s say the desire to have colorful shoes was born. The shoes were also made of silk, with medium-high heels, embellished with large buckles, roses and rosettes, ribbons and shimmering beads, but the color of the shoes had to be contrasting to the silk stockings.
Human fantasy has no limits, since then a variety of silk stockings were created. Pearls decorated silk stockings of the 1700 and silk embroiders decorated the silk stocking of the 1800. In the ’30s women dresses became much shorter and for the first time the knees were in full view, therefore much more attention was given to colored stockings. Women soon preferred the nude look of the legs, the simple skin color silk stockings lasted until WWII, when the silk fabric was needed to fabricate parachutes for our men fighting in the war. So it happened that the manufactures discovered the nylon, a product made from petroleum and much more fragile than the silk.
Remember I said I possessed my mother’s silk stockings since fifteen years ago and I don’t know how long she had it before I took them? Well, my nylons have never lasted more fifteen days, until I discovered to keep them in the freezer and not in the drawers of my dresser. The cold of the freezer apparently stretches the life of the nylons only a little longer.
I am thinking silk stockings should come back in fashion, they are eco-friendly, will save your money, feel absolutely luxurious and they add luminosity to women’ legs.
I can help decorating with fun posters of pin-up girls in silk stockings to add a playful look to any room, especially music rooms, studios, entries, bathrooms, home gym. Try a little eccentricity here and there when decorating your home to add a punch of fantasy and character, because the banal décor gets old and tiresome after a while.
A good reading is the book: “A Pair of Silk Stockings”. It is an eclectic collection of long-neglected short stories by great women writers best known for their novels. The book includes The Watsons by Jane Austen, The Half Brothers by Elizabeth Gaskell, A Pair of Silk Stockings by Kate Chopin, The Red Room by L.M. Montgomery, Bliss by Katherine Mansfield, The Parvenue by Mary Shelley, The Legacy by Virginia Woolf, and The Wronged Woman by Winifred Holtby. Find it on Amazon, $13.00.
In the 1957 film Silk Stockings Cyd Charisse was so gracefully beautiful and the music so throbbing. Her endless legs were perfect for the silk stockings.
Copyright © 2010 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved
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In service and with love. Ciao,
Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior and Fashion Designer, working in the USA and Europe. She marries well fashion and interior in any of her design work. She loves to remodel homes and loves to turn ugly spaces into castles. Fashion designing has been her first career choice that made her happy in her own company for fifteen years.
Author of the book: ©Come Mia Nonna–A Return to Simplicity
Book website: outskirtspress.com/ComeMiaNonna
Author of the forthcoming book on the subject of colors: ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors.