Textiles are one of Switzerland's oldest industries. Cotton and silk has been spun and woven in homework in the rural parts of the country for decades before the textile sector was one of the first to become quickly and fully industrialised. One of the major players in Switzerland's silk trade has been Abraham AG (Abraham Ltd). The company's history dates back to 1878, when Jakob Abraham became a partner in a Zurich-based business. Under the direction of Gustav Zumsteg, who had joined as a partner in 1943, the business became a firm part of post-war Paris Haute Couture as supplier of silk fabrics to the leading fashion houses. The 1960s-80s were the heyday of Abraham AG with the close and personal collaboration between Zumsteg and Yves Saint Laurent from 1961 onwards. This equally successful and glamorous period was followed by a slow but steady decline eventually leading to the company's bankruptcy and liquidation in 2002. 'Soie Pirate: The History and Fabric Designs of Abraham Ltd.'. is a comprehensive history of this fascinating enterprise.
Volume one tells the company's story and investigates its importance in the international business of high fashion and in the context of time. Volume two presents a wealth of designs, patterns and samples of the beautiful fabrics designed by Abraham AG but also of the elegant dresses and spectacular gowns the great couturiers like Cristobal Balenciaga, Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent or Emanuel Ungaro have created using Abraham's products. Together both volumes bring to life a chapter in the history of high fashion worldwide.