FREE Domestic Ground Shipping + No Sales Tax

Silk, the Transparency Scale

Posted by Deborah Bergman on

Polaris, approximately 40"x40", 12 mm crepe de chine and heavily backlit.

Polaris Silk Scarf, approximately 40"x40", 12 mm crepe de chine and heavily backlit.

The transparency scale is an important element of DBD Silk Wraps and Scarves. Although silk becomes fairly opaque when folded, different silks have unique transparency potentials. Lighting makes it very easy to over represent transparency photographically, and transparency, like light itself, can change from moment to moment.  Here is a scale of transparency for those of you ordering your silk by phone or online.

Silk Georgette:  Most transparency potential.  If you put your hand behind a lighter area of a silk georgette scarf and pick it up in a well-lit room, you will see not only the shape of your hand but some detail.  If you wrap it like a sarong over clothing, it will not represent as transparent, only as magical and filmy (try Touchable Spica and Touchable Asterism).

Along with having this transparency potential, silk georgette is matte, smooth, and filmy.  It can also slips slightly. On some hair (curly) you may need clips to keep it on your head.  Others do just fine without.  It is slightly fragile (something sharp can catch at it) and slippery.  It is very gorgeous and flattering and filled with light, especially in the warm weather months.

Crêpe de Chine: Most translucence potential.  If you put your hand behind a lighter area of a crêpe de chine scarf and pick it up under well-lit conditions, you will see the shape of your hand but not the detail.  If you intentionally backlight it, it will become somewhat transparent.  (The cover image for the Touchable Show gallery is Asterism in crepe de chine, which we intentionally backlit).  In real life this is much less likely to happen.  Many of the pieces and looks in this gallery were created for you with crepe de chine pieces, and as you can see in natural light against the body none of them are transparent and rarely translucent.

Along with having the most translucence potential, 12 mm crêpe de chine has a slight sheen, a very slight "pebbled" surface texture, and a great drape.  These qualities give great and changing depth to color and imagery.

Silk Charmeuse: Opaque. You can make a light charmeuse piece translucent if you try really hard, but you really have to work at it.

Charmeuse is shiny and light reflective, drapes beautifully, has a noticeable right and wrong side, and catches great detail and tonal variety and depth when fine arts images are printed on it.  It's a little heavier than georgette or crêpe de chine.

Silk Twill: Opaque. You can make a light-colored twill piece translucent if you really try, but you have to work at it.

Twill is substantial yet drapes beautifully, with a noticeable diagonal weave. It is durable, has a slight sheen, and has great tonal depth and drama.  It is also the classic silk used for the Hermès silk scarf.  Slightly heavier than georgette or light crêpe de chine, it's good all year round, particularly good in fall and winter, and can have a more formal, professional feel.

Blue Watcher, 40" x 60", in silk georgette and heavily backlit.

Blue Watcher Silk Scarf, 40" x 60", in silk georgette and heavily backlit.

In summary, a georgette piece will definitely be light in weight and have a transparency potential and charmeuse or twill will definitely be heavier and opaque, while crêpe de chine falls in between. But unless you wear the lighter silks in a single layer against the body with a lot of light, the transparency tends to be minimal and what you are left with is the character of the silk type.

Older Post Newer Post

Join Me

Be the first to know about special offers and new collections.