Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly,
‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I’ve a many curious things to sheow when you are there.’
So starts the famed poem by Mary Howitt, who’s nursery rhyme proved all too apt– despite the shutdown of New York City traffic (Oh Obama!), we flies came buzzing to the AMNH to see a “subtle web, in a little corner sly.” The subtle web proved to be the genius of textile expert Simon Peers and fashion entrepreneur Nicholas Goldey, who have used the silk of spiders to create a strange and unique new fabric. It took a labor of love–five years to be exact, for the pair to spin their dream into reality.
The painstaking technique requires teams of collectors, ‘”silkers,” throwers, and weavers to produce the cloth. More than a million Golden Orb spiders from Madagascar were collected, “silked” (ultra fine, naturally golden-colored silk was carefully extracted by hand from the female spiders’ spinnerets) and then released back into the wild. PETA lovers should be thrilled, as Goldey explained “it’s much more humane. They actually boil silk worms after they are done with them.”
Guests were strangely enthralled by the wraps on display–for some the copper colored cloth was creepy, for others, mesmerizing. Maggie Rizer, who gamely tried on a wrap, declared “the exhibit is so different for the AMNH– it’s cool to see them do something fashion related.” Political scion Maria Paz Gaviria was more intrigued by the potential “bullet-proof” qualities of the weaves as I wondered aloud about the possible ramifications of a display to that effect. The Veuve Cliquot swilling crowd– the likes of Lara Meiland-Shaw (9 months pregnant!), Carrie Cloud, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Tinsley Mortimer (and camera crew), Peter Davis, Mimi So, Antony Todd, Carlos Souza, Susan Shin, Anisha Lakhani, Nola Weinstein, and Sarah Basile were all atwitter (and no doubt tweeting) about the magical textile.
Why? Perhaps host Heather Graham said it best, simply stating “silk feels so good.” And with that, several guests trickled to the neighboring Shake Shack, where burgers and fries weren’t quite as soft, but probably equally as good.
Maria Paz Gaviria
Carrie Cloud and Lara Meiland Shaw