Velvet trousers in different cuts and finishes felt so fresh sauntering down this season's runways, including at Chanel, Balmain and Kenzo, but the origins of this opulent textile are terribly ancient and a source of hot controversy amongst scholars. Introduced to Europe by Arabian merchants, there has never been a consensus as to where it came from -- until a scrap was found in a tomb in Changsha, China, dated to 168 BC. Velvet's history makes it ideal for this season's baroque and embellished trends. Even more genius? Harness its luxuriance into an unexpected everyday staple.
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