This gorgeously illustrated volume not only offers a tour through the fascinating history of silk but also a glimpse into the future, when imaginative designers and textile producers will be changing the boundaries of what is possible with this extraordinary material. Textile expert Mary Schoeser presents an authoritative account of the development of silk, its properties and practical uses, and its role in some of the greatest achievements in the history of fashion design. Silk is magical. Made by worms, it is able to absorb up to thirty times its weight in water, it is warmer than wool, and it is unsurpassed for beauty and touch. Schoeser focuses keen attention on silk's evolution as a symbol of status and substance, then traces its central function in 19th- and 20th-century glamour, expressed through the work of designers from Christian Dior to Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga to Emmanuel Ungaro. Schoeser also examines the innovative use of silk by today's cutting-edge designers, among them Alexander McQueen, Issey Miyake, and John Galliano of Dior. She concludes with a detailed investigation of new silk technologies and how they continue to extend both the physical properties of silk and the possibilities for creative design.