"The bible tells us that the magi were from the east, probably Iran, and travelled west to Israel upon the birth of Jesus. The flow of people and ideas from east to west has been a dominant force since the silk routes were established around 130 BC. All too often dismissed by the west we have much to learn from looking east to the seat of civilisation. In this issue Emily Lush explores the Caucuses. An area flanked by the Black and Caspian Seas, hemmed by Russia, Turkey and Iran, the Caucasus is one of the most culturally complex and fascinating regions on earth. Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan are ethnically, socially and religiously distinct, but with common threads of a shared heritage. A conduit of the fabled silk routes that for centuries served as the physical and ideological bridge between east and west, the Caucasus has benefited from generations of cross-pollination.
We enjoy the traditional floral crowns of Ukraine and the stylish images of Chinese photographer Kiki Xue. We track the generations of refugees, including Sigmund Freud, who have migrated from the east bringing with them textile traditions that have enriched and enlivened our own history. We also look afresh at China and see what recent in-roads are being made to reinvent the label of Made in China with an ethical stance.
Colour plays a part in this issue too from the subtle hues in Italian collections this season to the many shades of red, from madder to carmine, found in carpets and stained glass as well as medieval scarlett and millennial pink. Gone is the ultra-feminine baggage pink once carried; it now plays a serious role in symbolising the nuances of today’s gender politics. It is therefore no surprise that Valerie Steel has chosen explore the colour in her newest show at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, reviewed for us by Jo Anne Greko. Enjoy a rose-tinted holiday."