Pablo Neruda once mused on Peru as the land of “yellow tassels.” Always one to play with words, Neruda was surely referring to more than just the rising stalks of corn that “grace the heights of Peru.” Indeed, tassels are everywhere—swinging from handknit hats, coloring the ears of alpacas and even dotting the landscape.
The use of tassels—for adornment and ceremonial purposes—goes back almost as far as Peru’s history. In ancient times, tassels were symbols of power. Not only were they used to designate social standings, they were also used to honor and label mighty warriors. The most powerful warriors would be layered with the most tassels, and have the tallest tasseled headdresses (much like the function of a birds plume).
Even today, tassels are used for labeling purposes in Peru, especially with livestock. Forget branding, the Peruvians “tag” their alpacas with a specific tassel in the ear—these tassels not only designate the village and the owner, they also serve to distinguish male and female alpacas from a distance (because the different genders have different functions).
Of course, tassels are also just a favorite adornment in Peru! Tassels ornament ceremonial dance outfits, they fringe bridal hats, or ponchos or shawls…or anything you can wear! Our spring collection is bursting with bright, cheerful tassels—straight from the heart of Peru. Check out some of our favorite tasseled treasures:
Top row: Ucayali Poncho, Caravan Earrings, Inti Cardigan; Bottom row: Tassel Earrings, Pacaya Handcrochet Bag, Merida Necklace
by guest blogger, Julie
Every year our wovens designers take to Paris, elbowing through the masses of likeminded creators entering the fabric mecca of Première Vision. The only tradeshow of its kind, Première Vision houses 740 of the top fabric mills from over 28 countries. Navigating the landscape – discovering plush new textures, refreshingly original patterns, and intriguing new weaving techniques – excited gasps can be heard in every language imaginable. It’s on this hallowed ground that inspiration, which pumps the heartbeat of our brand, is found.
Gathering inspiration at Premiere Vision: design sketches, antique lace, the convention hall, and a much needed glass of wine!
With this new spark of almost-divine inspiration filling their bodies and sending their brains into a flurry of fashion to come, our team heads back to Canaan Farm. Collaborating with knitwear designers, the wovens designers add their inspiration to the the ever-important seasonal mood boards. These Mood Boards, telling a season’s story, are creatively cluttered with swatches, tear sheets and photos. Bits and pieces of haberdashery from travels to far-off lands adorn the board’s terrain, accompanied by statuesque croquis dressed in quickly sketched silhouettes. Almost magically, the mood board takes on a life of its own. As yarn dyes are added, swatches subtracted, sketches scrapped then pasted back again, the mood organically morphs from its initial intended state, to almost perfect, and finally growing into “I think we’ve got it”.
It’s this process of clever collaboration between our Wovens and Knits design teams that fuels the fashions for the season. Feeling, touching and inhaling new ideas, new creativity, and new concepts, shapes the collections of seasons to come at Peruvian Connection. We know that if your eyes are eager and your thoughts are clear and open, inspiration can be found everywhere you look. The smallest, most easily overlooked object can provoke genius, an off-the-cuff comment can cultivate exquisiteness – but it never hurt anyone’s creative flow to visit Première Vision.
Faced with the possibility of vanishing into modernity, the indigenous Huichol tribe of Mexico is instead harnessing the power of tradition to keep afloat. The vibrant Huichol culture is intimately connected with and expressed through art. Creativity is believed to be a gift from the gods that everyone strives to attain, and, in return, the art becomes a gift for the gods. A tradition that is passed down from generation to generation, Huichol art is very distinctive—meticulously woven by hand using tiny beads.
Not surprisingly, Huichol women are adorned in the most beautiful beaded creations—bold, graphic earrings, bracelets and necklaces that any woman would covet. An American anthropologist named Susana Valadez set out to share these wearable artifacts with the rest of the world, and, in the process, help preserve the endangered culture (which is much like the story behind Peruvian Connection!). Susana partnered with Huichol women and started a line of altruistic jewelry, which has not only helped keep the art form alive, but has also helped bring much-needed income into the remote community.
It has been 20 years, and the line of jewelry has since been featured on celebrities, runways and fashion shoots. Each piece is woven by hand using only 2 tiny needles, glass beads and nylon thread—taking anywhere from a half day to an entire week to create. The smoothness and lightness of their creations is not found in any other beadwork. It’s not just fashion—it’s a tradition, a culture and a cause!
We’re proud to make this Huichol artistry part of our Spring 2014 collection. Check out the Nomad Earrings above, or the sparkly Beaded Fringe Earrings below!
by guest blogger, Julie Towner
All too often we think of “details” as over-the-top embellished garments more fitting for the “front-rowers” of Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks. We merely hear the word detail and automatically our thoughts go to ultra-sculpted silhouettes loved by the likes of Lady Gaga, or ridiculous collars and sleeves that make it impossible to execute critical and basic daily functions like physically getting that Starbucks coffee to your lips without incident. And really ladies, who wants to walk down the street thinking they’re the height of fashion, when passers by are thinking you’re actually at the height of your mental collapse!
Let’s get hold of ourselves, my friends, and realize that the most dramatic detailing doesn’t actually mean compromising our comfort or sense of self awareness! The Ready-To-Wear from designers we know and love is elegantly oozing with details that make every outfit cherished and wearable.
What is it you love about that favorite piece in your closet? What makes that item so wear-worthy you can’t bear the thought of one day not having its comfort wrap around your body? I would venture to guess that more often then not, it’s the fabric, the perfectly constructed fit, or that one thing you just can’t put your finger on: guess what…you’re in passionate love with the details. And those details not only distinguish that favorite piece, but they also make every other piece by the designer so aspirational you’ve become a loyal brand buyer.
Some designers choose to focus on feel-good fabrics,while others use signature stitches or highly tailored silhouettes. Whatever the medium for making their styles speak, details tell stories of quality, luxury, and an obtainable opulence that makes the wearer beam with beauty.
Painted Desert Cardigan, Desert Rose Pullover, Vintage Top
Peruvian Connection’s Spring 2014 line is focused on details that are refreshing, refined, and wearable, giving every piece in our collection that kiss of quality that we’re known for.
THE PIECE: Callista Sheath
THE DETAILS: Rich Italian taffeta with a hint of sheen that ups its luxe. The expertly tailored gathered bodice adds an element that takes this piece from work to weekend with ease. Callista Sheath $279
THE PIECE: Split Back Tee
THE DETAILS: The unexpected deep back vent and back-dip hem add edge without compromising elegance. Ultra soft pima blend offers a rich softness to the touch. Split Back Tee $49
THE PIECE: Painted Desert Cardigan
THE DETAILS: Notched hem with picot trim and hand crocheted edges add just a hint of oomph to an already stunning collector’s piece. Painted Desert Cardigan $389
So next time you think details, don’t be frightened! Remember every subtle stitch and eye-popping peplum a la Alexander McQueen is a detail,
a well-executed player in the way we feel about the clothes we keep in our closet.
Nothing beats a dress that can easily take you from work to cocktail hour. Don’t just take our word for it though…check out some our favorite transformations!
For work: Our Slow Current Dress, layered with the forever-favorite Nikki Lace Cardigan and simple, no-frills jewelry for a look that’s both professional and noticeable.
For night: Throw off the cardigan, cinch up the waist and add some colorful statement jewelry to make this dress a serious attention-grabber!
There’s always room for another LBD in the closet! The Elodie Dress is beyond-flattering and ready for any occasion. For work: Cover up with the divinely soft Mirador Suede Jacket, and keep it cool with some unique patinaed jewelry.
For night: Change into some strappy heels, grab a gorgeous scarf that doubles as a shawl (in case you get cold!) and load the essentials into our perfectly-sized chain strap clutch.
For work: Our Santa Croce Dress takes a professional turn paired with the Plaited Knit Cardigan, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less stylish!
For night: It doesn’t take much to turn this gorgeous number into something date-worthy. Think bright emerald heels, grand cocktail ring, fringed necklace and that just-in-case shawl.
For work: Beautiful dress + artistic sweater = one unforgettable look! Take it up a notch by adding tasseled earrings and enviable southwestern boots to the Siena Tank Dress.
For night: Show off your waist with an artsy tasseled belt, add some glitzy jewelry and trade the boots for a sexy pair of pumps. If the evening dwindles into a chillier night, cover-up with our breath-taking handcrochet cardigan.