La Mer Batik (Thailand)

La Mer Batik (Thailand)

  • From The Chiang Mai Collection.
  • 100% designed and handmade by Sarisa in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
  • Handwoven vintage hemp (Hmong), indigo dyed using the batik method. Vintage green and red stripes are cotton applique work added by Sarisa.
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I called this La Mer Batik because there’s something mystical about this dress that reminds me of the sea. First off, this piece of antique Hmong hemp is rare and in exceptional condition for its age (she thinks around 50 years old or so). The simple, rustic white patterns you see are batik. Batik is what is known as a “resist” process by which designs on fabrics are, as in this case, hand stamped with wax designs and then placed in a dye bath so that only the areas without wax are dyed. An older fabric like this would have certainly been dyed with natural indigo. Hemp gets softer with age and wash, and this dress is the softest of all the hemp pieces in the collection. Sarisa added the vintage cotton green and red stripes, making this piece even more gorgeous.

More about the designer, Sarisa:

Sarisa is a 33-year clothing designer and vintage textile collecting veteran. If her work at all catches your eye, as I imagine it will, I urge you to read more about her in some of the Chiang Mai stories I wrote for the site, which tells more about her extraordinary spirit and path, from young farm girl to successful clothing designer.

Sarisa creates from the heart, and her love shines through each piece. A woman also after my own heart, she only creates one-of-a-kind pieces. Each garment is regal and sensuous, and can make all kinds of women look and feel beautiful in it. Made from strong, vintage fabrics (typically hemp), these garments have already stood the test of time and are, consequently, as low fuss and practical as they are beautiful. Most of her vintage fabric was made by Hmong women, who are revered for their woven clothing, often richly decorated with embroidery, applique, cutwork, knot work, pom-poms, batik and silver.