Whispering Cloud. Singing Silk. Tea Silk. Soft Gold. It's been called many names over the past 2500 years, but all names agree about this rare luxurious cloth - it's liquid on your skin, and weightless as the sky.
In the Pearl River delta of Southeast China, and only there, and only from November-March, and only according to the nuances that water sky and earth allow, mud cloth is born - perfected since the 5th century.
It starts with a yam. Dry, grind, simmer, repeat - dye silk the hue of tobacco.
Stretch it across a field. Slather it with the iron-rich mud of the delta. Let it bake in the sun up to, say, two months. Rinse it in the river where tannins absorb to make it anti-viral and anti-microbial.
Finish it with anthracite coal - a layer that gives the silk a luxurious sheen, makes it resist oils; makes it flow like liquid on your skin.
Marcella Echavarria meets mud silk. Marcella is hard to describe (so varied, so global, so layered) but at the very least call her a textile enthusiast, artisan advocate, entrepreneur, editor, and sylist who started Noir to bring this prized luxury to the world. In its leathery-like finish, all she believes in is present: quality, craftsmanship, slowness, respect for makers. With it, she makes one size unisex clothing, constructed by women in Colombia, and made to last a lifetime.
I've watched Marcella's career over the years, always with admiration for her keen and artful eye. When I tried on these cool, crisp pieces (softer with each wearing), I thought I might not ever take them off. There is something timeless here. Ageless. Simple. Strong. Bold. Easy - with the volume turned up on chic. It's rare. Just what we may all be wanting as we emerge from the cocoon of sweatpants and tee-shirts and fly again. This is for you, those of the Bold Tribe with Ibu wings.
Here's to the new Fall Collection at Ibu, to the river deltas that make us rich in cloth, and to the endless beauty of black.
All the Best,
Susan Hull Walker