Velvet-teen: the real deal with the material

I’m awash with adjectives over this material….whose name is in fact used to describe the same.  That sensual texture, the soft, silkiness that begs to be touched, particularly by a tactile wired gal like myself.  It’s a compulsion, my fingers crawl forward, dying to know, what will it feel like?  The slightest contact transports me.  It’s hypnotic, it’s meditative, it’s calming, like taking deep slow breaths.  It’s no surprise that it reminds me of one of my very favorite childhood stories, and why I find it sneaking it’s way like Easter Eggs tucked away in the grass, into my home.  Some touches are quite obvious to the eager hunter, and others won’t be discovered without careful and systematic observation.

velveteen rabbit

Illustration by William Nicholson

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room.  “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you’re made,” said the Skin Horse.  “It’s a thing that happens to you when a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become real.”

“Does it hurt?”  asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful.

“When you are real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse.

“You become.  It takes a long time.  That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.  Generally, by the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose joints and very shabby.

“But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

The Velveteen Rabbit – Margery Williams

There’s a lot of wisdom in those words, and a lot of comfort in a bunny with velveteen ears.  Ironic that Rabbit became real but velveteen is actually imitation velvet.  Still it feels so nice to the touch, does it really matter?  In the world of interiors, I embrace mixing the “mock-off”  my term for knock-off with the genuine article.  If you love it, it’s REAL.

So how did velvet come to be?  Egypt claims the glory for this status statement.  Egyptians new all about opulence.  As far back as 2000BC velvet could be found in a slightly different form than that of it’s popular fabrication today.  Linen fabrics with looped pile created this luxurious wonder.


Restoration Hardware Modern . In Practice

Current fabrication techniques up the ante on luxury by mixing silk and metals to create the lustrous depth, and reflective qualities that are one of the many intriguing qualities of this fabric.  Draped, folded, hung, it takes on different hues, its finish represents as matte or sheen.  It’s as complex and as interesting as we humans.

Keep it REAL…and be Kind.  Happy Easter Weekend.



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