Boiled silk is also known as habutai or habotai, a Japanese term because it is in Japan that this type of fabric was traditionally woven and is still used today in Japan for judges' robes, while large-scale production has moved to China. It is a very light and soft fabric.

Habutai means "soft, shaggy", because its main characteristic is to look shaggy, as it is made of continuous fibre yarns, thin, shiny, slightly twisted, shaggy and soft. It is obtained thanks to a particular finishing through a process of washing with sand that binds the surface and gives it a special "peach skin", fluid and full-bodied to the touch. However, during this treatment, some fibres break and, consequently, this type of fabric is much less durable than normal silk.

Compared to common mulberry silk, it is softer and glides like a lining. Boiled silk or habutai is a fabric that can be both on the piece in a wide range of colours and, especially in dark colours, due to the fact that it is a 'hairy' fabric, it looks as if it has a slight whitish patina, as if it were dusty.

Because silk is of such a fineness, it is generally measured by 'momme weight' or 'GSM weight' (GSM refers to grams per square metre of fabric) rather than thread count. Mommes (mm) are units of weight traditionally used to measure the surface density of silk. The higher the momme, the thicker the fabric is in texture. The normal range of momme weight for Habotai is from 5 to 16 mm.

What is boiled silk or habutai used for? It is a very versatile fabric, used for numerous women's garments, from draped blouses to T-shirts, from palazzo trousers to dresses, but also for unisex shirts. Widely used in lingerie and accessories such as scarves. Also used for scarves and sarongs. The great designers use it in collections where they want to highlight the figure in movement on the catwalk, an effect obtained thanks to its softness and shine.

But this fabric is also used for luxury bed linen and hand-painted decorative panels in batik, shibori and tye and dye techniques.