Iridescent silk chiffon has a shimmery,luminous glow to it. It changes hue and/or shade as it moves. Unlike all the other silks I work with, iridescent silk comes factory-dyed in several dozen colors.
Its special qualities arise from the warp and weft fibers being different shades. Take for example, this “silver” iridescent chiffon veil:
It is actually not silver at all, but rather has black threads running one direction and white threads the other direction:
Now, in another video I have made, I argued that ombre veils were superior because they have dimensionality that shows off movement better relative to solid color veil. Iridescent chiffon offers an alternative way to highlight your veil moves. It can be overdyed to make an ombre, but it also shows off movement quite nicely in its original factory-dyed condition. Check it out:
Looks like liquid silver in motion, doesn’t it? By the way, this fabric only comes in 54″ widths, so it is actually easier for me to make 54″ wide veil. Tedi is dancing with a 54″ x 3 yard veil in the above video.
As if the “silver” iridescent chiffon isn’t cool enough, it looks great overdyed. When it is overdyed, the white threads dye, and the black ones just stay black, so the end result is a color with a black underotne:
Here’s some other photos of overdyed iridescent chiffon. The first one is the silver overdyed. The others are overdyed peacock blue or light pink iridescent chiffons.
Scarf painted for my Mother
Here’s another look at iridescent silk chiffon in motion — this time a teal/peacock overdyed ombre and a handpainted peacock pattern.
You can purchase iridescent chiffon veils in my etsy store:
An ombre veil is more than just a way to bring several colors together. The ombre brings something to your dance over and above what can be achieved with a solid color veil, or a mottled, tie dyed, or randomly blotchy veil.
A 2.5 minute video is worth a thousand pictures; my dance partner Tedi provided me with several hours of barrel turns holding various veils so you can see what I’m talking about. (As an aside, don’t you hate instructional/informative type videos where the narrator starts out with that ear-piercing “Hi everyone!” and then proceeds to ramble in front of the camera for waaayyyy too long? You click one minute forward into the video and they are still rambling uselessly, so you click two minutes in, three, four. Finally you get to the 15 seconds of useful information in the five minute video? I hate that. I promise to never waste your time like that. The video that youtube tries to make you watch after this one will probably be one of those.)
In a nutshell, the ombre itself brings dimensionality to the veil. It distinguishes the two edges of the veil in 3 dimensional space, so that what you are doing shows up better. The effect is particularly striking on a big stage. This 3 dimensionality shows up whether the edges are contrasting colors as in the video, or whether the ombre is more subtle. For this reason, when customers ask me for a solid veil, I will usually suggest a subtle lighter to darker gradient of their desired color. It just provides depth to veil in motion; even a subtle difference brings dimensionality to the veil in motion.
An alternative strategy to highlighting movement is with a lengthwise gradient in which the colors transition across the 3 yard dimension of the veil. These aren’t as popular, and for a long time I thought they were inherently inferior. I recently made one by error and was quite surprised. Here is a side by side comparison. I found the way it highlighted movement different and delightful from the usual ombre.
And finally ombres provide options in terms of the direction of the gradient that we hold. Depending on the the colors of your ombre, your costuming, and the lighting, you might decide one direction lends itself more to what you are trying to create with your dance. You can also change the edge you are holding during a dance and play up that contrast.
What about painted designs? I try to do them on a gradient background if possible, for just all these reasons.
Fairly regularly, I get requests for gold veils with the caveat “please not yellow”. Rest assured, if you request “gold” from me, you will NOT get yellow! Gold and silver are a bellydancer’s “neutral” tones. Gold/black and Silver/black gradients are my best-selling gradients for a good reason: they’ll go with lots of costumes. My “gold”, while not truly metallic of course, are made to match your gold beads, sequins, and coins. Combined with the natural luminousness of the silk, they really do look almost metallic gold. I can even tweak the dye mixture to go with old/tarnished gold tones, or bright gold (or perhaps I should call these options 10k, 14k, and 24k). Your choice. Gold also pairs especially well with purples, pinks, reds, teals, and well, just about anything for a gradient veil.