Glossary

Brocade

This rich, heavy and elaborately designed fabric was once usually made in silk - at times with silver and gold threads - making the pattern stand out against a sateen weave background. Used for evening gowns and precious home decoration items since the 1800's, traditional pure silk brocades - like the ones Frette makes - are now extremely rare.

back to top

Cady

Precious silk fabric, slightly fulled, originally produced in the French region of Languedoc, for couture and evening gowns. Generally produced in 2 plies, Frette uses a high-quality 3-ply cady, which is finished to create a denser, heavier, pre-washed effect, increasing the fabric's luxurious feel.

back to top

Calf Skin

For its exclusive moccasins and slippers, Frette only uses small skins in top quality Italian calf.

back to top

Cashmere

Cashmere is a precious fibre with extraordinary traits. It is obtained exclusively from the fleece of the Hyrcus goat, native to the mountainous regions of Asia and found mainly in Kashmir in India, Tibet, Iran, Iraq, Northern China, Persia, Turkestan, Afghanistan and Outer Mongolia. In order to survive in a hostile environment, with bitterly cold winters and torrid summers, the Hyrcus goat has developed an under-fleece called down beneath its coarser outer coat. This soft, fine down is what we know as cashmere - and has an extremely high capacity for thermal insulation in both cold and hot climates. Cashmere is highly prized because of the small quantity of down produced each year: about 150-200 grams per goat. Frette deals exclusively with the best raw material and has it spun, woven and finished in Italy, where the sophisticated techniques, combined with the expertise of a long tradition in the textile sector, turn it into the very best cashmere fabric available today. Frette mainly uses un-dyed, natural mélange colours which maintain the softest feel and most lustrous look. Like woollen yarns, cashmere can be woven or knitted. For knits, Frette uses precious double 28 yarns. For some wovens, Frette employs traditional methods of shuttle weaving with ancient looms, creating an exceptional softness. Due to the difficulty of the process and the rarity of the necessary raw material, only a limited number of shuttle-woven pieces are made each year. These are items of utmost beauty and rarity, snapped up by collectors almost as soon as they come off the loom.

back to top

Chemical Testing

Frette performs a chemical test after dyeing and finishing / mercerising to ensure that the cotton quality, measured by its degree of polymerisation, maintains a predefined standard. Non-skilled dyeing and mercerising weaken the fabric making it more subject to wear and tear, although initially no difference can be detected by the human eye.

back to top

Chiffon

A light, diaphanous silk fabric, sheer and transparent, made with fine, tightly twisted yarns. It is very strong, despite its filmy look. It is difficult to handle when sewing, which is why Frette only hand-stitches it.

back to top

Chinchilla

Chinchillas are native to the Andes mountains in South America. Extremely precious, their fur is considered the softest in the world and is thirty times softer than human hair. Chinchillas have the highest fur density of any land animal with more than 20,000 hairs per square cm. Where humans grow one hair from each follicle, a chinchilla has more than fifty hairs from a single follicle. Their fur is especially costly not only because of its softness, but also due to the small size of the animal. In nature, chinchillas are generally grey, while other colours, like white or beige, are very rare and even more precious. To ensure a soft, warm colour for home decoration, Frette uses exclusively farmed beige chinchillas.

back to top

Creponne

A fine, often gauzelike fabric with a wrinkled surface in the direction of the warp. It has a crinkled, puckered surface, or soft, mossy texture, due both to the crinkled silk yarns used and the finishing. It comes in different weights and degrees of sheerness and is dull with a harsh, dry feel. It is generally used for elegant long dinner dresses, suits, coats. Frette uses creponne for elegant home wear.

back to top

Deerskin

Extremely soft to the touch, Frette uses this prized leather for precious bedspreads and decorative cushions.

back to top

Dyes

Frette chooses reactive dyes for its Home Collection, since they are resistant to light and heat, colour-fast and allow a wide and sophisticated palette. During after-care, bleaching is strongly discouraged, as is the use of detergents with optical brighteners. The former might damage colour and fabric; due to the presence of blue particles, the latter alters the fabric colour over time.

back to top

Egyptian Cotton

Cotton quality depends on fibre length. Longer fibres make a more uniform, resistant and smoother thread when twisted. Egypt produces the best quality, longest fibre and most valued cotton world-wide. Egyptian Cotton has become synonymous with staple that meets those standards and highest quality. Only the best quality raw materials will suffice for the production of jacquard and this exclusive cotton permits incredibly fine weaving, foregrounding even the smallest details of the design.

back to top

Embroidery

Ornamental designs obtained through a variety of stitching techniques on a fabric's surface to enrich its look. Frette mainly uses full or chain stitching to achieve rich and intricate effects.

back to top

Faille

Originally French, this is a soft, transversely ribbed silk with a lustrous finish. Since it drapes well, Frette chooses it for men's robes.

back to top

Finishing

After weaving, the fabric is gassed (excess fibre is burnt), washed, bleached, mercerised, starched and ironed. The fibres are purged to give them a shiny and silky aspect that emphasises colour and design. The durability of the fabric during washing is also increased. Frette's exclusive finishing process renders its products unique in both feel and look.

back to top

Fox

Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are prized for their long soft fur in a variety of beautiful natural colours. Frette uses only natural farmed varieties, black, silver and golden fox, to create stunning home accessories.

back to top

Georgette

A sheer or crêpe dress material, usually made of silk. It is characterised by its crispness, body and outstanding durability. It was named after Georgette de la Plante, a French dressmaker, who first invented it, and Frette chooses it for fine home wear.

back to top

Haircalf

Printed in leopard or zebra patterns, this highly textured material makes the softest and most fashion-forward travel slippers within Frette's home wear range.

back to top

Jacquard

A type of weave created on the eponymous machine invented in 1801. The machine automatically controls the warp and weft threads on a loom by recording patterns of holes in a string of cards, thus enabling the creation of intricate designs. Nowadays, the cards have been substituted with digital information, but the quality of the machines is still paramount. Large scale designs, which are Frette's trademark, are difficult to produce due to the very small number of looms capable of weaving these complex jacquards.

back to top

Lace

For home decoration, Frette uses three main techniques: tulle, macramé and sangallo, all in 100% cotton. The composition is extremely important to guarantee the same soft hand and shrinkage after washing as the fabric on which it is applied. Tulle lace, originating from the eponymous town in South-West France, is embroidery on cotton mesh. Macramé lace, an Arabian invention, is a connected embroidery on a synthetic mesh which is then dissolved by heat or water leaving only a rich pattern. Sangallo was developed in Switzerland using larger patterns cut to shape, creating an eyelet effect. For homewear, Frette uses embroidered tulle, macramé and Chantilly, a delicate, artisan-made lace, which is hand-stitched piece by piece and then cut to shape.

back to top

Lamb Nappa

Used for throw borders, this soft lamb skin, is given a nappa treatment, to achieve the highest softness.

back to top

Linen

Linen is a natural fibre extracted from the flax plant. The yarn has a fresh feel, a silky shine and high resistance. Due to its molecular structure, linen can absorb water equivalent to up to 20% of its weight without the body feeling any humidity. This makes linen especially appropriate for fabrics that come into close contact with the skin, especially in warmer climates. Linen is more expensive than cotton, and more difficult to spin, but the above-mentioned properties make it one of the most comfortable and attractive fibres.

back to top

Matelassé

A jacquard fabric woven with heavy "stuffer" filling yarns to create a puffed, quilted effect. The textile's beauty comes from the yarns used to make it, which can create very different results. Frette selects Shantung silk, wool and cotton, mixing them expertly to produce unusual designs. The patterns are complex, concentric and "blown-up" to fit the fabric, rendering each piece unique.

back to top

Mercerising

Invented by John Mercer, this is a key step in the finishing process, in which caustic soda is used to give fabrics resistance and additional shine. The process also stabilises shrinkage, allowing the fabric to remain soft and loose when washed. Mercerisation requires extremely skilled personnel and advanced machinery, and Frette relies on its own patented formula to ensure unrivalled results.

back to top

Merino Wool

Wool was the first natural fibre used for clothing. Because of its insulating properties, it is irreplaceable even today. The best wool comes from the merino sheep, which originates from the Mediterranean coastal area but was introduced towards the end of the eighteenth century to Australia and New Zealand. Here, this unique animal found an ideal habitat helping it produce the world's highest quality wool, the only one capable of meeting the standards for Frette's exacting weaves.

back to top

Mink

A precious fur derived from the Mustela Vison, commonly known as mink. For its throws and cushions, Frette uses farmed Danish male mink, due to the higher quality of Danish supplies and of male animals. The part used is the back of the animal, which is more precious than the underbelly. The mink fur is then plucked, not sheared, a long and careful process resulting in the hard, long hair (nept) being removed and only the soft, short hair (wool) remaining at its natural height. The skins used are of exceptional quality since any small defect becomes very obvious after plucking. The skins are subsequently tanned and dyed (for colours which do not exist in nature) in Italy, renowned for its expertise in fur treatment.

back to top

Percale

A fabric in a close, simple weave created by weaving one thread over and one thread under. The finer the thread used in the weave, the lighter and softer the fabric. The feel is crisp. Frette percale has a 200 thread count.

back to top

Piqué

Thick cotton fabric with relief motifs. Often used for ladies garments and home decoration, it is Frette's choice for fresh bedspreads and decorative cushions.

back to top

Poplin

A light dense fabric woven with a fine weft, and an even finer warp, originally made of wool. It was first created in Avignon, France, for the use of the Pope. Nowadays, it is usually made of mercerised cotton and is used for fine shirts and pyjamas. Frette's poplin is woven from an uncommonly fine 240 thread making its garments feather-light and exceptionally soft.

back to top

Python

This prized snake skin is used by Frette for avant-garde home accessories, cushions and throw borders, as well jewel-like slippers.

back to top

Quality Control

Careful quality control strategies performed at various stages of the production process guarantee that Frette items meet the highest standards.

back to top

Reps

With narrow ribs running its width, this fabric usually has a fine warp and heavier filling yarns. Frette manufactures a silk variety in its Luxury line, unique for quality and shine.

back to top

Sateen

A soft, light, lustrous fabric with a loose interlacing in fine, dense thread. The fabric is created with one weft thread leaping over four warp threads, then under for one and again over for four, creating a silky hand and a higher shine. Frette's sateen has a thread count of 300 to 500.

back to top

Silk

The only natural fibre that comes in a filament form: from 300 to 1,600 yards in length obtained by unreeling the cocoon of the silkworm, either cultivated or wild. Although considered a "cool" fabric in the East, silk helps maintain body temperature and is therefore suitable for insulation in winter. Strong and absorbent, silk is one of the oldest known textile fibres, used in China as long ago as the 27th century BC. The silkworm moth is native to the Orient, and for about 30 centuries the gathering and weaving of silk was a secret process, known only to the Chinese. Major silk producers include China and Japan, while Italy, once an important producer, has been the world leader in high quality silk fabric manufacturing for decades. Ensuring the highest quality, Frette's silk is exclusively spun and woven on Italian soil.

back to top

Suede

The soft back of leather, suede comes in many qualities and varieties: Frette only uses top quality Italian calf. Small skins are chosen for their lack of imperfections and special softness, which give Frette moccasins, throws or blanket borders a heavenly touch.

back to top

Taffeta

Lustrous, crisp silk fabric with a plain weave, woven with one colour in the warp and another in the filling, giving the fabric an iridescent shine. It is thought to have originated in Iran (Persia), where it was called "taftah" (fine silk fabric). In the 16th century, this smooth, stiff fabric was used for luxury women's wear. Frette uses it for stunning home accessories.

back to top

Thread Count

The number of threads woven into a square inch of fabric. While thread count is often quoted as the main indicator of fabric quality, the quality of the thread and the finishing are also key factors in assessing a fabric's calibre. Because of this, fabric quality cannot be determined by merely referring to the thread count. A thread can be made using a single ply or several plies. In some cases the number of plies, instead of threads, is counted when calculating the thread count. This creates an inaccurate measuring unit, since a high number of plies does not correspond to a higher fabric quality.

back to top

Velvet

Fabric with a dense, soft, furry surface obtained by lifting either warp or weft threads and cutting them short to create an even finish. Although today's velvet is often made of mixed fibres to reduce costs, Frette's homewear velvet is created in pure cotton, while the home accessories velvet is silk-based, guaranteeing unrivalled quality.

back to top

Voile

Derived from the French word for "veil", this thin, semi-transparent dress material is usually made from cotton, wool, or silk, using cylindrical combed yarns. To obtain a top quality fabric, highly twisted yarns are used. It has a hard finish and a crisp, sometimes wiry, hand. Frette uses it for light, soft home wear.

back to top

Warp and Weft

The lengthwise and crosswise threads which are interwoven to create the fabric.

back to top

Yarn-Dye

The yarn is dyed before the fabric is woven, allowing different-coloured threads to create contrast as in a painting - another of Frette's trademarks. Yarn-dyeing also guarantees better colour penetration giving higher resistance and uniformity. Even simple pinstriped patterns in Frette's home wear collection or bedding are usually yarn-dyed rather than printed, ensuring a more precious and durable fabric.

back to top