Chenille! It’s back, actually, it never went away in Japan

OMG, best Christmas present ever! This cute chenille hanky arrived from Japan today, thanks Yoko!

You know how the Japanese just love their hankies? Visit any major department store and you’ll discover that groovy fashion brands like Vivienne Westwood or Paul Smith release a range of hankies for men and women for the Japanese market that you’d never see in Australia.

The Japanese have a different attitude to hankies than in the west, and here’s my audio tribute to the little pieces of cloth rich with social meaning.  Desdemona’s handkerchief, the gay hanky code – a hanky is not just a square piece of cloth to wipe up excess body fluid…

Chenille is tufted fabric, made a bit like carpet, and was invented by the sensuously fashionable French in the 18th Century. It had its heyday in the US in 1930s and 1940s, and a subsequent revival in the 1970s, which is when I experienced it as a bedspread, or perhaps you were lucky, and had a gorgeous chenille robe.

Chenille has since crawled into the cringeworthy corner of fashion, though just recently I saw an article declaring it’s comeback! And check out this uber covetable Jason Wu chenille outfit, circa 2017.

What surprised me was that when I looked up the company Enjeau that makes these Schnauzer infested soft hankies (yes, I have a thing for Schnauzers), I discovered that the Japanese have been making chenille goods since the late 19th century, and are now one of the biggest consumers of chenille handkerchiefs in the world.

Feiler, a German company which also manufactures soft chenille hankies, is huge in Japan, and nowhere else.

And yes, the Feiler and Enjeau designs are a bit on the daggy side, but this is what I love about Japan. Kitsch seems to maintain a cult following, it’s as if nothing ever completely goes out of fashion in Japan (remember Bay City Rollers, Esperanto? Guess where they survived the longest?) And for someone like me who adores kitsch, I get a little flushed when I can occasionally ‘come out’ of the chenille closet to embrace what I’ve always enjoyed.

From this Enjeau Rakuten (online shopping) page, you can choose from so many dog and cat chenille hankies! OOh, just fabulous!

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