An elegant and lustrous fabric, duchesse satin is shiny, heavy, and luxurious. Often used for couture wedding gowns or extravagant home decor, it has been around since ancient China. Silk weavers made this textile with many layers of delicate fibers that created a soft texture with a lot of body and sheen. It is a popular choice for wedding gowns because it drapes well, helping to create full and beautiful skirts.
Satin has a very high thread count, the number of individual threads that crisscross the fabric in a square inch (6.45 square cm). Duchesse satin is usually made from silk fibers, although it can also contain polyester, rayon, or acetate filler. An expensive choice, an interior decorator might choose this material for velvet drape lining, a holiday table runner, or ruffle on a dupioni pillowcase.
In clothing, duchesse satin is used primary for bridal gowns and lingerie. Wedding gowns have been sewn from duchesse satin for centuries, since it was first imported to Europe from Zaytun, China. It accompanies lace, velvet, beading, chiffon, shantung silk, tulle, and organza beautifully. Designers prefer this material because the skirt keeps its full curves, instead of fluttering, as would a thinner fabric.
Different weaves of duchesse satin in a palette of colors allow the modern bride to choose something opulent yet unique. If her budget doesn't allow for 100% silk satin, she can substitute a polyester version. The less expensive "matte" satin might look not as crisp or shiny, yet a properly made gown will be easier to walk in and less likely to wrinkle. White is the most popular color, of course, but less traditional brides might opt for rose red, sophisticated black, or vintage ivory.
Usually, an ankle-length skirt is made of duchesse satin, while the bodice and sleeves are another, more textured material. Different weights of the crisp satin will complement other designs, such as a short skirt, shoulder wrap, or sculpted sleeves. Duchesse satin is so versatile, it can be used to make an Edwardian tea dress or a Renaissance brocade.