The coats' red hue is derived from the lac insect in Bhutan, the designer tells PEOPLE
The wool- and silk-blend coats were hand-dyed and carried traditional motifs that have been used by Bhutanese weavers for generations, Choden tells PEOPLE.
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“I chose to experiment with a luxurious Merino wool and silk blend which is much softer and has a subtle, natural sheen,” she says. “The yarn was hand-dyed using organic ingredients found locally in Bhutan. We used walnut shells called tago poko in Dzongkha to create the soft brown.
“Rather than using the traditional yak wool, the pink hues were achieved by boiling madder and lac, which is a scarlet resin secreted by the lac insect and harvested from an infested tree. The yellow shades were infused with turmeric and the leaves of the Asiatic Sweet Leaf plant.” The traditional motifs include the “Dorji” and “Pigeon’s Eye.”
“These pieces are entirely unique and were made exclusively for the royal order,” says Choden. “No such piece has ever been made before, nor will it be possible to replicate since they were woven with hand-dyed yarn. The exclusivity of hand crafted products is an important part of their allure and beauty.”
As for Kate’s dip into Bhutanese fashion with a kira-style skirt, Choden says the look “transformed in her own unique style. She wore it beautifully.”
“The Bhutanese have been in a celebratory mood since the birth of our Gyalsey – the newborn Dragon Prince – and the long- awaited visit of the Duke and Duchess only added to the emotion. It has been an amazing start to the Bhutanese New Year.”
She also made some dresses for Kate to wear but she was not able to meet her. “Though ultimately I was not able to deliver the pieces to the Duchess, I am more than grateful and extremely humbled to receive the royal order to make gifts for the children.”