Kazakh nomads wore vests made from local goat hair to keep warm during severe winters on the Orenburg steppes. The goat hair was among the softest and finest in the world. When Russian settlers arrived in the 17th century, they used it to knit shawls in traditional patterns. Diaphanous and virtually weightless, these shawls are remarkably warm and durable.

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What is your most extraordinary garment and how can you demonstrate its interesting qualities?

responded: Sep 20, 2011

Posted by Monica

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While it’s hard to choose, I believe my most extraordinary garment is a vintage Carmen Marc Valvo black beaded tuxedo dress. Whoever previously owned it kept it in great condition with most of the beading still in-tact. The dress has full sleeves and a deep V neckline. The dress wraps and folds in the front and has 6 beaded button snaps to hold it together. It has a slight flare past the waist with a mid-thigh hemline. It’s made from polyester, but with this dress it’s what’s on the outside that counts. Covering the dress is a beaded lace overlay that follows a floral pattern you can only see if you’re really examining it. It’s such a stunning piece, but it’s also versatile. While the obvious way to wear it is formally, it looks equally great worn as a jacket with the sleeves rolled up and a pair of jeans. Definitely a dress that will stay in my closet forever!

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