A rare outfit made from spider silk will go on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on Wednesday. The show will be on till June 5.
Simon Peers, a textile maker in Madagascar, and Nicholas Godley, American fashion designer, have created this outfit from one million female Golden Orb spiders. The outfit is in golden-coloured silk thread and is around 11 feet by 4 feet long. This silk is stronger than steel and it can stretch up to 40 percent of its normal length.
According to Peers and Godley, it required at least 23,000 spiders to create one ounce of silk. It took around 80 people over five years to collect silk from the spiders daily to create this unique outfit. This silk was collected during the rainy season, the only time when they produce silk at Antananarivo and the surrounding countryside in Madagascar. It took them eight long years to collect the required amount of silk to make this outfit.
The female golden orb spider is well-known for its golden silk thread. These spiders are found throughout the tropical region and they are known as golden orb weavers because of their big, gold-coloured webs. The webs can often be seen between telephone and electrical wires - and are sometimes large enough to span a one-lane road.
From past eight years, female Golden Orb spiders were collected in Madagascar. The researchers extracted silk from the spiders during the day by using a special contraption. At the end of the day, the spiders are returned to the wild.
In 1880, Jacob Paul Camboué, who had worked with spiders in Madagascar, collected and weaved spider silk. His silk was exhibited at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900 and it was subsequently lost.