January 22, 2015 Always Front To Back…Old San Juan

By Style Contributor, Julie

I would never consider myself a “hat person.” Although I love the look of dramatic floppies on ultra feminine ladies, the idea of hiding under a wide brim and overly exaggerated sunglasses is fascinatingly mysterious to me, and I can never seem to pull the trigger.  Likewise with the now popular fedora, the juxtaposition between hipster, and preppy confuses me and I can’t decide if I really love the look or loathe it.  Unexpectedly, my life long internal turmoil over whether to hat or not to hat came to an apex whilst in Old San Juan…

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A tip from a friend who is a native of the lush tropical island lead me to wander the streets of Old San Juan, which in and of itself is a whole other world. I was sent to look for a little shop called Olé. My tipster left out the details of what goods the shop sold, but told me only that it would quite possibly be the highlight of my trip!  So as I wandered up and down the cobblestones of this historic city, along with cruise shippers, and rows and rows of uniquely painted “tourist trappy” souvenir shops, I began to wonder if just experiencing the history and architecture was really the aim of my friend’s suggested treasure hunt. Finally, snuggled completely inconspicuously between a haberdashery of this-and-that shops selling painted Old San Juan sea shells, and “My friends went to Puerto Rico and I all I got was this tee-shirt” tee-shirts, was Olé!!

When I finally crossed the threshold into Mecca, I instantly knew that every time I walked out of my flip flops and dodged the call of “hey pretty lady” on this journey was so worth it. Close your eyes, imagine yourself in 1950’s Puerto Rico, now expand your chest and breathe in the smell of fresh moist straw, just a hint of earthy tobacco from a cigar a leathery old man is puffing on. Can you detect the presence of very old atrophying leather bound books? Everything you just pictured was only a morsel of what the authentic ambiance of Olé is like. Thousands of handwoven unfinished hats lined the store’s wooden shelving along with hand carved statues depicting religious figures, and those beyond-old books you were smelling. In the center of the 600 square foot store sets a workbench scattered with very old, very used millinery tools, hat forms, and heavy shears. Every color and pattern of handwoven wide ribbon was housed on giant wooden spools attached to the walls. This was indeed going to be the highlight of my trip!

Ole hat shop, tucked away in the heart of Old San Juan.

Antique shop, tucked away in the heart of Old San Juan.

After an appropriate time of perusing the selection of hats ranging from $40 to $400, a young man who turned out to be an expert milliner, gently guided me to the Panama Hats where he popped a chapeau on my cabeza!  I’m not sure if it was the romance of the atmosphere or the fact that this guy was so proficient at his trade that he could eyeball my melon and instantly know the perfect shape of hat, brim style, and size, but I looked in the mirror and what I saw was a beautiful hat person!

I fingered through samples and spools of ribbon that would make my new hat uniquely mine, and after landing on my favorite, my hat was fit, and my ribbon was cut. I watched as his nibble fingers finessed the perfect pinch in the ribbon’s bow and was in awe of how he gracefully applied heat to the hat as he stretched it back and fourth on the hat form. Several eagerly awaited minutes later he presented me with his handcrafted, perfectly fit hat. I was instructed several times that the proper way to put my new friend on was “from front to back.” Apparently this is a very important and crucial part of wearing said hat, because he even yelled it at me as I stepped out of the shop from the past and back onto the streets of today.

It was an absolutely unexpected lesson in appreciation for an almost lost art of hand-craftsmanship. In an era of fast fashion, we tend to forget that there was a day when items we now take for granted we’re actually created with love, art, and talent. When you stumble upon experiences that allow you to peek into the past, soak them up, and remember…always front to back!

The Perfect Fit

Olé
105 Calle De Fortaleza
San Juan, Puerto Rico

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October 9, 2014 Made in Peru. . . and Turkey and India and the USA

Our customers often ask if our products are made in Peru. The answer is yes, the great majority of our collection is in fact made in Peru, including all of our luxury fibre knitwear and pima jersey pieces.

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Geneviève Dress $359,  Josephine Slip Dress $399

Some select pieces of our collection are made in other parts of the world. India, for example, is renowned for its intricate beadwork and China for its superior silk dresses.

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Savoie Shearling Coat $3,500,  Film Noir Trench $650

We source our leathers and shearling in Turkey and Romania, and our jeans are made in Morocco and New York.

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Manisa Cardigan $398

In short, we make our collection where it is best made. And most of the time that is in Peru.

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October 1, 2014 PC’s Signature Details

Design is in the details. At Peruvian Connection, buttons are antiqued and linings are decorated with a surprise of color and pattern. Pieces from the collection showcase timeless elegance, luxury fibers and impeccable design, finished with the little touches to make them truly special.

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PC’s signature print lining pairs the romance of a Tibetan floral with the ethnographic striping of a Peruvian Q’ero manta.

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Buttons are antiqued to complement garment-dyed twills and contrast topstitching.

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Colors, patterns, and fibers explore a world of textile traditions, beginning with the heart of our brand, the awe-inspiring textiles of Peru. Peruvian Connection’s signature ribbon echoes Andean weaving and may be found on the trim of an inside coat pocket or pant waist, adding the finishing touch to your one-of-a-kind wardrobe staple.

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September 26, 2014 World Piece

This fall we’re finding design houses and clothiers across the globe have sprinkled their collections with more than a little dusting of wanderlust. From glossy Vogue spreads of Blake Lively engulfed in Native American-inspired oversized ponchos and leathery fringe, to editorials erupting with pictures and pieces that scream Haute Heritage. From sea to shining sea, this season’s about the global tie that binds and the history that’s made us.

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 Bedouin Coat $575;  design sketches, yarn balls and the inspiration piece, a Middle Eastern shawl. 

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Patabamba Dress $218; a palette of yarns and Peruvian handweaving.

Peruvian Connection is not new to this nomadic nuance, after all our roots lie firmly in anthropology. Bougie bohemian has been our badge of honor since our inception. With our 2014 Fall and Holiday collections, however, we’re particularly proud of the ethnographic inspiration each piece evokes, drawing from our travels and the people we have the pleasure to encounter. Prints and patterns pulled from the art of places passports can’t gain you access, and colors of rich deep sunsets that make your soul feel warm and your heart feel full. Our aim is to always give our clients a “no-suitcase-needed” trip around the world. No pomp, no circumstance, just a first-class ticket to the world in which we live, one breathtakingly tailored alpaca piece and handcrafted hemline at a time.

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A sampling of the textile collection of a PC designer, including a Turkish kilim, Uzbek Suzani,
Indonesian ikat, and Peruvian backstrap woven belt.

 

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September 19, 2014 Wardrobe Essentials: The Tunic

by PC designer, Karen

The garment that today we call a tunic has an ancient origin. The garment originally called a tunic was derived from the Greek chiton, a simple square or rectangular piece of fabric pinned or sewn at one shoulder and gathered at the waist with a girdle or belt.

These were adopted and called Tunica by the Romans around 300BCE. The length, fit and ornamentation of the garment that was worn by men and women alike was dependent on the wearer’s standing in society. The tunic continued to be the basic garment of both sexes throughout the Byzantine period and into the early Middle Ages, by which time they all were decorated with some form of embroidery or braid at the neck, hem and cuffs.

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Tunics of ancient Rome and Greece

The waist-length jackets worn by British soldiers since Napoleonic times provided little protection in the dreadful winter conflict of the Crimean War of 1854, that they were lengthened to mid thigh to provide better protection.  Thereafter they were called tunics, after the tunica of those valiant ancient Roman soldiers.

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Heavy Brigade Rough-rider of the 5th Dragoon Guards, after the 1856 Battle of Balaklava in the Crimea

At Peruvian Connection there is nothing we love so much as a great story, especially one that links the textiles, fabrics and garments we love back to their origins. We knew there had to be a reason why we loved and reached for our tunic styles so much!

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Layering garments of different lengths is this season’s most modern way to wear our tunics.
(Above: Deco Plaid Shirtdress $249, Edo Cardigan $159, Elson Cropped Pants $159)

We love them now not so much for the extra warmth, but still for the same reason: it covers our derriere.  Also, because at the end of summer, it is a transition piece that can be worn alone as a dress and also increasingly layered  – as chilly evenings start and nights grow longer –  over pants or skirts.   And because there is a tunic that is perfectly flattering for everyone, they are the easy pieces we reach for on a daily basis at PC.

Below is our quick primer to help you decide on the most flattering tunic for your gorgeous body:

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Choose empire waists or hip details, avoid clingy fabrics. V-necks draw attention up to your face. Dark colors are best.

Petra Top $59, San Cristobal Tunic $79, San Bartolo Tunic $199

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Keep away from shapeless silhouettes. Open necklines and 3/4 sleeves show collar bones and wrists.
Shorter length tunics are best. Choose small scale patterns.

L’Automne Tunic $110, Chevron Lace Pullover $149, Medina Tunic $159

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Choose tailored or more fitted shapes. V-necks will play up your bust.

Winter Garden Top $89, MacDougal Henley $139, Caribe Tunic $159

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Choose slight A-line shapes, longer lengths with asymmetric hems and side vents. Wider necks broaden shoulders.

Shadow Lace Tee $79, Eloise Tunic $110, Etienne Top $59

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Choose styles with 3-D details and ruching to enhance curves.

Gossamer Tunic $99, Charlotte Pullover $169, Artist Tunic $229

If you get the chance to visit one of our stores, one of our wonderful associates can help you decide on other tunic styles to flatter your body type.

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