Magazine article Newsweek

Passion for Pashmina: The Fabric That 'Makes Cashmere Feel like cardboard.'(Fashion)

Magazine article Newsweek

Passion for Pashmina: The Fabric That 'Makes Cashmere Feel like cardboard.'(Fashion)

Article excerpt

The fabric that 'makes cashmere feel like cardboard

FROM ACROSS THE ROOM, A PASHMINA shawl looks like fine wool. If you brush up against it, you might mistake it for cashmere. But if you drape it acrossyour shoulders, you realize that pashmina has a texture so fine it is the fiber equivalent of meringue. Designer Gabriele Sanders, who works exclusively with the fabric, says "pashmina makes regular cashmere feel like cardboard." She exaggerates, but not much.

Like a nightclub with an unpublished phone number or a restaurant with no sign, pashmina is exclusive, yet understated- symbolizing a subtle kind of snobbery that sums up luxury in the late '90s. It may look like mere cashmere to the uninitiated, but moving up the fashion food chain costs plenty: the whisper-light kimono pictured above sells for $1,200; a simple shawl costs $400. "It's a very humble-looking, luxurious-feeling fabric," says Judith Collinson, senior VP for women's ready-to-wear and accessories at Barneys New York. "People are always drawn to the chic secret."

This chic secret is quickly getting out among America's most seriously dressed women. Alexandra Von Furstenberg, the designer, and her sister Princess MarieChantal of Greece are rarely photographed without their coveted pashmina shawls. This summer, it's a buttery soft pashmina cardigan that fashion mavens will be reaching for in those heavily air-conditioned art galleries and a pashmina shawl they'll drape over their shoulders for an evening walk on the beach.

Pashmina wool is culled from the neck and belly of a Himalayan mountain goat, which lives at altitudes of 12,000 to 14,000 feet. The fashion world has discovered the exceptionally fine-fibered stuff only its the last six months, but pashmina has long been a status symbol in the East. For hundreds of years, in India and Nepal, a pashmina blanket was an essential component of a wealthy woman's dowry. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.