Moiré Silk Ribbon Samples

Moiré Silk Ribbon Samples, c. 1900s, France. The Underpinnings Museum. Photography by Tigz Rice

Date: c. 1900s

Origin: France

Fabric: Silk

Brand: Grands Magasins de Printemps


This set of silk moiré ribbon samples, from the French department store Grands Magasins de Printemps, dates from the early 20th century. There are four colours for the buyer to choose from – blue, white, red, and yellow. The ribbons could be used in a variety of applications, such as trimming on a dress, hat, or other accessory.

Moiré patterning is made by crushing the woven fabric in a specific way under a great deal of pressure. The fabric is folded in a specific way, and then rolled tightly and placed under pressure. The pattern created by this folding and pressure, when placed over the texture of the woven fabric, creates a watery textured effect, such as in this 1948 wedding dress or this (also white) Balmain fall-winter 1962 sketch. This photo by French photographer Pierre-Louis Pierson shows a woman in a moiré dress in the 1860s, and this belt shows how moiré would be incorporated into accessories in the early 20th century.


Many thanks to Katherine Shark for the object description and research.

From the collection of Karolina Laskowska

Museum number: KL-2018-007


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