Fashion A-Z

From applique to zippers, a comprehensive dictionary with definitions and
meanings of key fashion vocabulary, written by Camilla Morton.


Drape is the way a fabric or garment hangs. (Curtains are also referred to as draperies.) Coco Chanel once accused Christian Dior of draping women rather than dressing them, but draping is an important part of fashion design. It is the process of positioning and pinning fabric onto a dress or tailor’s dummy, to develop the more fluid structure. It is used particularly in haute couture.


Embroidery is the skilled technique of embellishing and decorating a garment by hand, using stitches in silks and yarns and sometimes including sequins, beads, feathers and pearls. Embroidery dates back to the 5th century BC in Ancient China. Today, Lesage in Paris is one of the most revered embroidery houses in the world. Embroidery employs an endless number of different stitching styles, from running to braiding, lazy-daisy, feather, blanket and cross, or French knots, beading, bullion and smocking. This skilled handicraft is at the very core of haute couture — it is the equivalent of the difference between handwritten calligraphy and a typed font; the beauty is in its uniqueness.