Was there ever a word more onomatopoeic than silk? It is a tease: a sliding touch followed by a flick, a breath that ends in a kiss. It is an emblem of mystery, this product of metamorphosis teased from the closed microworld of a cocoon. It speaks of stockings whispering under hobble skirts and medieval merchants with hooded eyess. It speaks of courtly scandals, slippery seducers and sheathed knives: softness masking bite. No wonder Anthony Horowitz's much-anticipated new Sherlock Holmes novel is called The House of Silk.
It is also one of the coolest, most complex and potentially game-changing bits of technology ever to have come out of nature's lab, as Fiorenzo Omenetto explains:
This week I wore a new silk blazer I had splashed out on as an investment piece; it was like a superhero skin. I acquired magic powers. I was an eleven foot tall amazon, and the most delicate little scrap of femininity you've ever seen waft past the corner of your eye. As Jane Birkin put it:
My mother was right: When you've got nothing left, all you can do is get into silk underwear and start reading Proust.