Grosgrain, that wonderful closely woven ribbed silk just gets me everytime. I can’ resist the stuff. It’s luxurious without being delicate and flimsy. The slight sheen it gives is attractively subtle and the texture is also very tactile. My senses elevate me towards grosgrain as soon as there’s a hint of it in a store.
It was the grosgrain ribbon on those iconic Salvatore Ferragamo bow pumps that contributed to my ongoing obsession with what some people think of as ‘old lady’ shoes.
In its most common form, as bows on dresses, shoes and bags, it’s perfection, but I’m always on the look out for more interesting uses of this sturdy silk. Of course it’s easy to find the stuff used as trims on everything but I don’t see it being used as the main fabric in garments anymore. Perhaps it’s just not in vogue anymore because I still see lots of grosgrain dresses from the fifties. I would even settle for interesting use of grosgrain as trims like this Boudicca dress (left) that I have, which has this gorgeous 10 inch wide pleated white grosgrain sweeping bottom hem.
Roland Mouret also puts the grosgrain to good use in this dress with the interwoven yellow trim. (Also helps that the colour combo is great!). This Thakoon skirt is the sort of thing I’m on the lookout for but alas, it’s not something I see very often. I love the way the grosgrain loops under on the bottom hem – creates such a cool shape – like one of those cut out paper lanterns you made at school.
This hat has also hit the right spot using large stretches of grosgrain to make an interesting shape. Looks like a luxe bus conductor’s hat which I think is pretty cool!
The fact that it doesn’t shimmer and gleam at you as much as say taffeta or a shantung silk, makes it probably one of the more wearable silks for the daytime. The Victorians and the ladies in the fifties sure knew how to wear masses of grosgrain….
The illustration is of an 1878 light blue grosgrain reception dress trimmed with ruffles, bows and puffs of crepe Lissé. The green dress is a 50’s cocktail dress – I love the way it’s belted and the bustline of the dress. The blue dress is a Susan Small dress from the 60’s – such an easy and girly sillhouette to wear! Almost a simplified version of an 18th century hoop dress.
Right now, to satiate my grosgrain hunger, I go to VV Rouleaux, the famous habedashery store in London to satisfy my cravings. I come back with a ton of ribbon and have no clue what to do with all of it but I’m definitely cooking some grosgrain galore ideas at the moment….