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Posted: Admin

Date: 2010-02-22

Perusing the bazaars of Uzbekistan and namely the small shops of those dealing in antique textile you will repeatedly come across a garment that in its design and colors perfectly fits the current ethno trend of fashion designers from New York to Milan. The Chapan in question is a long padded coat in the original Khorezm style made from the striped cotton fabric Alacha.

The good news is, Alacha is once again being handwoven at its original location, inside the Ichan Kala in Khiva. A UNESCO funded project enables a handful of selected apprentices to learn from one of the grand masters of handwoven textiles in Central Asia, a young man by the name of Abdurassul, who produces under his own label in Margilan Ferghana Valley for such prestigious designers as Oscar de la Renta for instance .

The Alacha Chapan was popular both with men and women padded with handplucked cotton and lined with rough linen, cheap cotton or precious Ikat Abr, according to the status of its owners, the coat was large enough to be worn over several layers of clothing, protecting the wearer from the fierce winds and biting cold in the winter.

With the onset of industrialization and the prohibition of private enterprise during the Sovjet era, hand woven textiles were no longer available and the know-how almost perished. Abdurassul researched the ancient technique and since a few weeks only the first bales of new hand woven Alacha in warm red, orange and yellow tones are available at Alla Kuli Khan Cultural Center in Khiva with plans to expand the collection into indigo dyed blue and green tones.

The Center for Business and Tourism Development Khiva, under whose auspices this textile revival has been launched, is turning Alacha into useful accessories at their sewing workshop inside the Medresse, where they are also for sale.

Visitors are also able to witness the entire production process, step by step, on a guided tour through the former students' cells at the splendidly restored Medresse where now the design studio, the spinning wheels, dying room, and the various looms are set up and silken and cotton fabrics are woven.

An appreture of eggwhite and other ingredients was applied on the fabric, which was then rubbed and polished with a smooth piece of mineral in the shape of a medusa to achieve the shiny surface.

The Museum inside Tosh Hovli, the Harem, displays realistic 1:1 models of ancient looms and garment makers and the Museum of Applied Arts next to the tall minaret showcases antique Chapans and pieces of Alacha.

Source: Silk Road Media

Views: 2156

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Capital Tashkent
Official languages Uzbek
Recognised regional languages Karakalpak
Government Presidential republic
Area 447,400 km2
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