At one point in history, silk was the most valuable fabric in the world. Originating in China in the 27th century BC, the luxurious textile, spun from the cocoons of the silk worms, spread to Japan, Byzantium, and eventually, on to Western Europe. While still beloved today, silk is reserved for "special dresses."
In fashion, designer’s names come to mind more readily than fabric houses. However, one venerable house’s textiles helped create some of the most sought after garments in the glamorous world of Haute Couture, for over thirty years. In the 1940’s, Gustav Zumsteg became the director of The Abraham Company; a Zurich Switzerland based fabric company. In doing so made them the most sought after destination for all the exclusive ateliers in Paris. Zumsteg was a true artist whose designs often featured flowers, in the company’s hallmark silk gazar in glorious and bold color palettes.
He not only supplied fabrics to designers like Hubert De Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, and Cristobel Balenciaga, he befriended them as well, most notably, YSL. The list of glamorous ladies who have donned dresses in Zumsteg’s silks reads like an international best-dressed list, including Catherine Deneuve and Audrey Hepburn. In 2010 the Swiss National Museum featured a meticulously curated exhibit entitled Soie Pirate or Pirate Silk, featuring the Abraham Company Textile Archive. Although the company found tremendous success for decades, the rise of prêt-à-porter, ready to wear, clothing in the 1970’s, and declining Couture sales lead to the eventual downfall of the Abraham Company. His designs are like a love letter reminding us of a glamorous era that we think is due for a comeback! In fact, Dress No. 2. by APRIL PRIDE is cut to drape with any silk and we are currently sourcing vintage Abraham.
- Andrew Fox