The Seduction of Silk on Lake Como's shores is little known to those outside of the fashion industry, but since the turn of the century, Como, a 2,000-year-old Roman town on the southwestern shore of the lake of the same name, has been the center of Italy's silk industry.
Como's picturesque Duomo is the perfect view of the history: Master weavers were already working in Florence in the 13th century. In the 15th century, Venice became a silk processing center. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Milan assumed prominence as both the Italian and European silk capital. By the turn of the 17th century, Como became the country's largest silk producer. Como now produces 85% of all of the silk made in Italy. The silk fibers are still woven, dyed and finished in Italy's finest silk factories, just the way they have always been.
The historic piazza in Como city center tells more of the story: Designers from virtually every fine house - from Valentino, Leonard Paris, Armani, Chanel, Hermes, Vuitton, Dior, Celine, Balenciaga, Herrera, Etro, Pucci, Burberry, Fendi, to Versace, and beyond - rely on silk from Como. A good deal of the credit for a designer's success goes to the silk houses. While the fashion-line's designers may come to the manufacturers with guidelines and inspiration for the types of fabric designs they envison, it is the manufacturers' artists in Como who actually execute the designs.
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