The story of one of our most intricate pieces – the APPLIED ART FORMS Silk Anorak


The CM1-4 is inspired by a unique vintage piece from the Applied Art Forms archive: a pair of US army liner pants, dated May 8, 1952. Part of a liner suit that was worn underneath a pilot’s flight overall, they are made of silk and lined with a wool terry cloth. Given the date in the garment’s care instructions, the pants are likely made of repurposed WWII silk parachutes.

At the start of World War II, most parachutes were made of Japanese silk. But as the supplies of this Axis country were cut off during the war, U.S. and British manufacturers were forced to introduce substitutes. The DuPont company – which had introduced nylon just prior to the war – stepped in and helped devise a parachute made of this strong and lightweight material. The chemical corporation worked with the Pioneer Parachute Company and the Cheney Brothers Company, a silkmaker in Manchester, to build a better parachute. The first ever nylon parachute was tested by pilot and parachutist Adeline Gray in 1942. By the second half of World War II, most British and American parachutes were made of nylon.

The silk parachutes were now a valuable source of cloth and were quickly recycled into clothes and underwear. Layering silk and wool underwear had already proven to be an effective combination to keep fighter pilots warm during World War I. The airtight silk of the abandoned parachutes was an advantageous material for new pilot liner suits. The pair of vintage pants in our archive is lined with a 60% wool and 40% cotton pile, which would have kept the pilot warm without overheating.



The shape of the CM1-4 Silk Anorak is based on a vintage U.S. Navy anorak parka: designed to be thrown on over all other uniforms and gear in stormy weather, this oversized anorak has a large hood, drawstring hem and a deep kangaroo pocket. Modifying this design by adding a zipper on the front, the anorak parka provided the perfect shape to combine with the unique look and feel of the silk liner pants.

What had developed out of function and time in the vintage liner pants – the cotton binding around the edges, the rough, overlocked seams to bind the silk and pile together and the draping of the silk around the lining as the wool had shrunken more over time – required a complex process of tailoring and washing to recreate. After months of testing with different patterns, washing methods and treatments, we were finally able to reach the desired effect and launched the unique CM1-4 Silk Anorak. The coat is available in a faded military green colour with ecru lining – inspired by the silk liner pants – as well as in a fully black version.



The 100% silk outer shell of the CM1-4 is a habotai weave, sandwashed for a soft, matte feel and produced in Manchester, England. The pile lining was made in Japan and is a blend of wool (65%) and cotton (35%). The extremely lightweight silk shell combined with the heavier towelling texture on the inside gives this oversized coat a uniquely comfortable feel. All-natural materials naturally regulate temperature to keep you warm without overheating – making the CM1-4 Silk Anorak a suitable outerwear piece to wear throughout the year.