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Dress textile sample - Papacha


  • Object:

    Dress textile sample

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1964 (designed and made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ascher, Zika, born 1910 - died 1992 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hand-tufted mohair

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Zika Ascher

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    On short term loan out for exhibition, case B4

This chunky tufted mohair sample comes from the archive of Zika Ascher, an innovative textile manufacturer who based himself in London after the annexation of Czechoslovakia. His wife designed textiles and their company became incorporated in 1942. Ascher developed a range of fabrics for use at the top end of the market. He kept used samples such as this to show prospective clients his wares, and as a record of his output.

This is an example of the collaboration between textile manufacturer and fashion designer. Ascher developed a close working relationship with a number of the French and British couturiers active in the 1950s and 1960s, in particular the Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga who was based in Paris. The colours were among those that dominated Balenciaga's work throughout his career. The bulkiness of the textile dictated that the garment had to be simple in cut.

Balenciaga's dramatic use of a different colourway of this fabric in a coat appeared on the front cover of French Vogue in November 1964. It was black, red and white, accessorised with a black bowler hat with a gold conch shell on the front (symbol of Saint James the Major, patron saint of Spain and of pilgrims).

Physical description

Dress textile sample of chunky hand-tufted mohair in black, red and white. The base textile is an open plain weave, made up with bouclé mohair yarn (the warp in light green and the weft in fawn). The tufts are large and at first sight single colour, but they are, in fact, made up of two to three different colours of mohair yarns: the green tuft comprises and light and mid green yarns; the black tuft comprises black, deep pink and deep blue; the bright pink tuft comprises deep and mid pink; and the pale tuft comprises pale pink and white.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1964 (designed and made)


Ascher, Zika, born 1910 - died 1992 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Hand-tufted mohair


Width: 45 cm maximum, Length: 28 cm maximum, Width: 4 cm tuft, maximum, Length: 8 cm tuft, maximum

Descriptive line

Dress textile sample 'Papacha' of chunky hand-tufted mohair, made by Zika Ascher, England, 1964

Labels and date

Ascher textiles devised this hand-tufted mohair
known as Papacha in conjunction with Balenciaga.
Featured on the front cover of French Vogue,
Balenciaga’s three-quarter length coat is a simple
T-shape with no collar or cuffs. It completely
hides the wearer’s figure and foregrounds the
fabric itself. The multi-coloured tufts, knotted by
hand into the mohair ground fabric, are made up
of two or three different colours of mohair yarns [10/05/2017]

Production Note

The Spanish couturier Cristobal Balenciaga (based in Paris) worked with Zika Ascher to create this fabric.

Attribution note: Ascher made textiles for the upper end of the market, so this textile was probably not widely available. Reason For Production: Retail




Woven; Tufting


Textiles; Fashion; Clothing

Production Type

Limited edition


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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