June 13, 2013 Cusco celebrates Inti Raymi

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June 6, 2013 Woven Wonders: inspiration to fruition

Beyond our luxurious Peruvian Pima and alpaca… Take a peek at the inspiration behind our collection tailored from fabulous woven fabrics. Sourced from the world’s highest quality mills, our fabulous woven fabrics are exquisitely diverse… perfect for long summer days and beautiful warm evenings.

Our Atelier Pants, with a painterly stippled aesthetic, originally inspired by the organic, color-layered effects of rust and patina.

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The floral print of our Wild Poppies Sundress, Poppy Silk Shell and Poppy Field Sundress showcase undulating stylized blooms.

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Interpreted Ikat motifs offer a graphic version of their original self, playing on stylization and color. The pattern is printed in crisp blue and white in our Ikat Tank Dress.

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Inspired by tribal patterns and tones, this collection combines graphic shapes and bright accent colors to create memorable accent pieces. The Tribal Skirt was inspired by African bark cloth motifs.

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Our Aléria Peasant Dress is a PC original print inspired by motifs in an authentically rustic  blanket.

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June 4, 2013 Corpus Christi

by guest blogger, Kezia Huseman

This past Thursday was Corpus Christi, and as it is every year, the Plaza de Armas in Cusco was alive and filled with festivity as thousands of people celebrated the Holy Host.

Ironically, this year’s celebration started with a country-wide Earthquake Drill at 10:00 AM.  As soon as that was over, the celebration got underway.  The fifteen saints and virgins from area cathedrals were already on display in front of the Main Cathedral for people to admire starting early in the morning, but before the procession around the Plaza de Armas could begin, there was a Mass, celebrating the body and blood of Jesus Christ.  Mass for this celebration is always held outside on the steps of the Main Cathedral facing the Plaza, so that all who want to can take part in it.  People crowd as close to the steps as they can in hopes of being in reach of a small morsel of bread and a small sip of wine.

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Men carrying San Sebastián during the procession.

After Mass and communion, the saints and virgins are one by one paraded around the Plaza de Armas in a great procession, celebrating the Holy Host, the Catholic Church, and ancient Incan culture.  Each saint and virgin is ornately decorated in the finest silks and other fabrics, sewn with gold-leaf and silver-leaf threads.  Each is carried around the Plaza, accompanied by incense, flowers, dancers, bands, and faithful followers.  Meanwhile, thousands of people crowd into the Plaza to watch and honor these beloved saints and virgins.

Chiriuchu is the other beloved element of the day, even for those who are non-religious.  Chiriuchu, accompanied by a cold beer or fresh coconut water, is cherished by all, young and old.  For foreigners, the dish may or may not appeal to one’s taste buds, but it is definitely worth a try, even if only for the experience. This traditional Cusqueñan platter, served with chicha or beer, is compiled of chicken, pork, sausage, cured meat, a corn tortilla, seaweed, caviar, toasted corn, hot pepper, cheese, and, the star of the meal, guinea pig – which was a common source of meat for the Incas.

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Virgen de La Inmaculada Concepción in the Plaza de Armas.

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Women dancing in traditional costume during the procession.

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Virgen de Los Remedios in front of La Compañia.

With Corpus Christi over, the season of festivities has officially begun in Cusco.  For the next couple of months, the streets, plazas, and parks of Cusco will be filled with celebrations of all kinds.

What are they celebrating?  Everything…

Some of us get so wrapped up in our lives or careers or whatever else we may have going on that we sometimes lose sight of the important things.  Peru is a simpler place than most of us are used to, but what Peru lacks in luxury and advancement, they make up for in their appreciation of life.  The upcoming celebrations involve family, friends, music, dancing, and food.  After all, aren’t those (or most of those) the things that matter most?

For more history about Corpus Christi, check out last year’s blog.

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May 30, 2013 PC’s headquarters, in full bloom!

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March 17, 2013 Carnival

by guest blogger, Kezia Huseman

Many people think of Brazil when they think of Carnival, but actually it is a celebration that occurs all over the world.  Carnival is traditionally a Catholic celebration that coincides with Lent.  Historically, the Catholic Church required all alcohol and rich foods to be discarded during Lent prior to Easter, but instead of simply discarding the alcohol and food, townspeople would gather in large celebrations to enjoy their beverages and eats prior to their 40 days of prohibition.  Today, Carnival is celebrated for more-or-less the same reasons.

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Peru, being a predominately Catholic nation, celebrates Carnival all over the country.  When asked, “What is Carnival?” many Peruvians answer with, “A reason to drink and eat and spend time with friends and family.”

On Carnival, like any good celebration, there is plenty to eat and drink, but it isn’t all about the food and booze.  In fact, in Peru, there are also parades, tree cutting ceremonies, and water.  O, yes!  Water…  A water fight, to be exact.  A country-wide water fight.  This water fight has no age limits, no escape, and no winners.  Everyone becomes some degree of wet.  Weapons include water guns, water balloons, spray bottles, buckets of water, and foam spray.

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In Cusco, the weapon of choice is foam, for its quick drying properties and far dispersal.  The culmination of the battle is in the Plaza de Armas.  Truly, this celebration is for everyone.  Parents teach their children how to fire foam aerosol cans, and complete strangers bond by dousing each other in water or foam.  The only rule is: don’t douse your same gender.  Some people may think that they don’t want to participate or get wet, but, the reality is, everyone enjoys themselves.  Getting sprayed and getting wet are just part of the fun.

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In the afternoon, after the water fight has calmed and the sun begins to set, neighbors gather together to take part in a yunsa celebration.  A yunsa is the tree cutting ceremony.  A tree is decorated with ribbons, blankets, plastic containers, tires, balloons, clothes, toys, and other prizes.  Then, people dance around the tree in a circle, drinking and chatting, and couples take turns attempting to chop down the tree with an axe.  This goes on for hours, because each person is only allowed three swings at a time.  Once the tree actually falls, everyone scrambles to claim their prize, like with a piñata.  The couple that eventually strikes down the tree becomes responsible for getting the celebration ready the following year.

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Long into the night of Carnival, even after the water fight has ended and the tree has fallen, families and friends dance and eat and drink and simply enjoy each other’s company.  As far as celebrations go, what more could one want?

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