The special silk that hails from Thailand is prized for its great texture and weight, but more so for its gleaming patina. The beautiful sheen caught the eye of Jim Thompson, an American army officer who made Thailand his home after World War II, and who forever changed the Thai tradition of enlisting a local weaver and one’s tailor or dressmaker to custom weave silk and fashion it into clothing. Thompson, with his discerning eye for beautiful things, inspired local weavers and their families to try new patterns and to use the color-fast dyes he imported from Europe. He also supplied them with a particular silkworm that had an appetite for a particular mulberry leaf, which resulted in a spun cocoon with a very long, inherently textured filament. These coarse strands are what give Thai silk its beautiful slubs, textures, and shine. Before long, a cottage industry emerged and Thompson opened an enchanting—and internationally famous—silk shop in Bangkok. Knowing the power of the American media, Thompson brought a small collection of silks to New York, where he was introduced to Vogue editor Edna Chase, and the rest is history. It was interior designer Billy Baldwin, however, who first used Thai silk in a client’s New York apartment, thus beginning America’s love affair with interiors swathed in Thai silk.
I love Jim Thompson silks. They have great colors and a wonderful variety of textures.