The stunning silks filling Tamoi-san’s Kyoto studio prove not all silks are created equal. Thread shimmers on the loom and the sheen of finished fabrics swath the humble workshop in undeniable opulence.

Japan’s love for this beloved textile spans centuries, and the Japanese way of measuring its density remains the industry standard to this day.  Momme (pronounced moh-meh in Japanese, or “mommee” in English) refers to the weight in pounds of 100 yards of silk, 45-inches wide. The higher the momme, the more silk was used in the weaving process. For example, chirimen, a special, crepe silk created in Kyoto and used for kimono, has a momme weight ranging from 19-25.

Not only is silk of this weight incredibly soft and luxurious, I also learned that its protein and amino-acid rich structure is remarkably similar to our skin, making it uniquely effective for gentle cleansing and exfoliating.

Geisha discovered this long ago, and when I came across an illustration in a 200-year-old beauty text showing women using strips of kimono silk to smooth and polish their skin, it seemed like a natural fit for the Tatcha collection.

When developing the KINU Pure Silk Polishing Face Cloth, we wanted to use the strongest, softest silk we could find. When Tamoi-san showed us some swatches of silk with a momme weight of 38-39, one of the highest-density weaves possible, we knew we had found something very special indeed. Lustrous and luxurious, the fabric was unlike anything I had felt, and the finish (described as “a delicate wood grain made of twinkling particles”) took our breath away.

I’ve used it to wash my face every day since, and it has become an essential part of my daily ritual, and I hope you will love it as much as I do. Because the texture is different than cotton, linen or other conventional wash cloths, it is important not to scrub or rub aggressively. Whether you prefer to use it wet or dry, use gentle, delicate motions, as if polishing a treasure or precious work of art—because you are.

 

Always,

Vicky

Victoria Tsai
Chief Treasure Hunter

published May 2015

Design, Beauty Secrets, Kyoto
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