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Italy Notebook- The Heartbreak of Globalization

16 Jun

The Feminine Mystique republished

19 Feb

50 years ago today, Betty Freidan published The Feminine Mystique. Janet Maslin, columnist for the NY Times, profiles the book for its re-release in today’s paper.Picture 1

Jacquards vs Prints

26 Nov


A Jacquard loom is a mechanical loom invented by Joseph-Marie Jacquard in the early 19th century. It uses a series of punch cards to control the weaving of patterns. Prior to the Jacquard loom weaving was a labor intensive process that relied on experienced professionals to produce even straightforward textile designs. The introduction of the Jacquard loom allowed weavers to concentrate more on the quality of designs produced, and standardized the quality of the weaving itself. This effectively mechanized the production of tapestries and textiles.

The original process used punch cards to control a sequence of movements normally accomplished by hand. Although tapestry weaving is a complex process, there is a great deal of repetition in terms of looping threads. The threads taken together make up a weft, with individual threads lying above or below the weft, making a discernible pattern. The Jacquard loom automated this process – the position of individual threads – thus removing much of the time consuming repetition. Modern technology allows the punch cards to be replaced by a computerized system.

Some of our jacquards from the Fall 2010:

BG 4254 intricate paisley jacquard woven pattern on the fringe ends of each stole, in a chic taupe/black combination, instantly wearable with your sophisticated outfits. The 70% wool and 30% silk fabric is  lightweight and warm, yet luxurious. Loomed in our factory in the Lake Como area, north of Milan.

BG 5480 the jacquard woven ramage flower design is an instant hit with our clients.  Our Italian designers have created a luxurious and striking design stretching across the entire stole. The two colors of the warp and weft swim together, creating a rich depth to the finished product. Loomed in our factory in the Lake Como area north of Milan. These items are so light yet warm, and can be worn as a stole or a scarf. 70% wool/ 30% silk. Choose black/black, Black/ purple or black/ blue.


Until recently, textile patterns that weren’t woven into fabric were commonly made with screen printing. In that more costly and labor-intensive process, mesh screens must be engraved by skilled artisans with the designs that will be printed. Dyes are then squeegeed through the screens onto fabric one color at a time.

Now the digital printers used in Italian mills are able to modernize the process in a very reliable and pleasing manner, so many designers are turning to this process. Quality improvements in Italy’s digital printing are producing crisp, sharp edges that one can’t get in screen prints.

Our unique Italian print design come straight from our factory in the Lake Como region of Italy north of Milan. The micromodal and cashmere blend is incredibly light, soft and warm. The sophisticated color pallettes are a fabulous addition to any wardrobe. Choose from black/yarrow, in/ violet, and charcoal/emerald.

Here is a link to a Wall Street Journal article on digital prints:

About Scialle

25 Oct

The word Scialle, pronounced Sha-lay, is Italian for shawl. We import fine, soft shawls in exquisite sophisticated designs from Italy, France, Nepal, Kashmir and China.

Our current production is based mostly in Italy, predominantly in the Lake Como and Biella areas north of Milan. We produce 2 collections annually, of unique prints and jacquards, as well as very lightweight cashmere solids.

For a discussion of the jacquard and print techniques used by our artisans, please see the blog post on jacquards and prints.

Our collections can be found on our website

Scialle’s Boutique Business

25 Oct

Our business began in 1999 with the “pashmina craze” in the US fashion industry. Feather-soft, lightweight, yet incredibly warm pashmina/silk shawls became the must-have fashion accessory for many years. The perfect Nepali-made pashmina/silk shawl is still part of our line. Buoyed by the enthusiasm for shawls in the American market, we also developed contacts in the Kashmir region of India, for cashmere shawls in incredibly diverse patterns and styles, as well as for intricate embroideries.

The incomparable sophistication of design and finishing skills in Italy drew us to Europe, where most of our production is now based. Delicate washed prints and intricate jacquards executed in couture level design and finishing are the hallmarks of our collections.

The specialty of the Scialle business is couture design and finishing in bridge level pricing. Our shawls sell well to the client who purchases in the couture level of pricing, and also appreciates and purchases the sophisticated Scialle shawls and scarves.