Fine indigo-blue and white striped polished silk and cotton 'alacha' womens chapan or robe. Some of the shine has now faded but it is still there giving the cloth a luxurious silky glow. Made in the first half of the 20th Century, there is some machine work on the hem but it is largely hand made. The interior lining is made of good quality Russian printed cotton with a border of ikat silk. It has been designed as a robe that doesnt close completely, it is meant to be slightly open at the breast. There is some minor pulling apart on the seams at the rear of the garment which I have photographed in close up, this would be easy to remedy. It was customary for sleeves to be made slightly long. One finds this in many chapans for both men and women. It looks great with either a dress or trousers.
US size 8 to 10, (UK 12-14)
Probably made in Khiva in Uzbekistan, a city on the ancient 'silk road'. Nineteenth century Khiva was not only the largest centre for chapan robe manufacture but its products demanded the highest prices. Khiva was also known for this 'alacha' material in silk and cotton, rather than just cotton.
The material was pre treated with a flour paste or egg white and hand polished after weaving with glass polishing heads so that the material shone. Today this material is highly prized and collected.
After Soviet collectivisation in the 1920s the practice of making this cloth gradually died out. The last cloth was made in Khiva in 1941.
Model is 5'6'' tall
Size UK 14