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Title: Devoré  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Velvet, C change, Kerseymere, Rakematiz, Tucuyo
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Devoré – or burnout technique – applied to green velvet fabric

Devoré (also called burnout) is a fabric technique particularly used on velvets, where a mixed-fibre material undergoes a chemical process to dissolve the cellulose fibers to create a semi-transparent pattern against more solidly woven fabric. The same technique can also be applied to textiles other than velvet, such as lace or the fabrics in burnout t-shirts.[1]

Devoré comes from the French verb dévorer, meaning literally to devour.[2][3]


Burnout fabrics are thought to have originated in France, possibly as a cheap alternative to lace that could be created using caustic paste on fabric.[2] The commercial chemical process used in fashion garments was developed in Lyon at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.[4]

The technique was popularised in the 1920s – typically used on evening gowns and shawls – and revived in the 1980s and '90s, notably by [2][5][6][7]

1990s revival

Conran is credited with popularising devoré, introducing it in 1989 and taking the technique forward in the 1990s in his main fashion line.[4] He refined his techniques on theatrical costumes; in the 1992 production of My Fair Lady directed by Simon Callow, burnout fabrics were heavily used for the costumes of Eliza Doolittle and street vendors.[4] Conran's devoré technique also featured in David Bintley's 1993 Royal Ballet production of Tombeaux, where it was used to create the two-tone velvet tutu worn by Darcy Bussell and the corps de ballet costumes.[4][8] In 1994, it featured in the Scottish Ballet production of The Sleeping Beauty, where Conran said it produced better results for lower cost than appliqué techniques.[2][5]

Conran's most elaborate devoré fashion pieces – which were oven baked as part of the process – were time-consuming to produce and expensive to buy; in 1993, a panelled evening skirt retailed at £572 and an acid-treated shirt cost £625.[4]

Established as a [9]


Devoré techniques use blended fabrics which combine protein-based fibres such as silk with cellulose-based fibres such as viscose, cotton, or rayon. In order to create the 'burnout' pattern, a chemical gel containing sodium hydrogen sulphate is applied to the fabric in patterns, dissolving away the cellulose-based fibres and leaving behind the protein-based fibres, which are not affected by the chemical. The chemical gel may be applied either by printing or by hand painting on the fabric.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b Singer, Margo (2007). Textile Surface Decoration: Silk and Velvet. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 35.  
  2. ^ a b c d Swift, Dionne. "Exploring Devoré...". Textile Arts. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  3. ^ Fogg, Marnie (2009). 1980s Fashion Print. London: Anova Books (Batsford). p. 13.  
  4. ^ a b c d e Hume, Marian (11 February 1993). "Fashion: Mr Contran's fin de siecle: Severity, thy name was Jasper: Now he who cleaved to chaste lines and plain black has taken to more exotic stuff. Marion Hume applauds .". The Independent. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Brennan, Mary (10 March 1994). "All hands to tutu". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  6. ^ Roffey, Monique (8 July 1994). "In thing: Georgina von Etzdorf scarves". The Independent. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  7. ^ "Georgina von Etzdorf: 25 years of sensuous textiles". Manchester Art Gallery. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  8. ^ Bintley, David. "Recapturing a Dream: David Bintley on Tombeaux". Birmingham Royal Ballet. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  9. ^ Jackson, Lesley (8 February 2007). Twentieth Century Pattern Design. Princeton Architectural Press. pp. 209–11.  

External links

  • Devoré tutorial on Textile Arts
  • Examples and methods at The Cutting Class
  • 1990s Georgina von Etzdorf dress in the Manchester Galleries collection
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