October 7, 2009 Tales of the Cape from the Left Bank

Paris1 Last weekend my mother and I took the Eurostar from London to Paris to visit my daughter who lives in the 15th arrondissement. 

Paris in the fall was fabulous.  We enjoyed the street-dancing & music in lively rue Mouffetard on Sunday, the awesome Jacquemart-André Museum in Boulevard Haussmann on Monday and the bustling street market in rue St Charles on Tuesday.Jacquemart%20interieur

This trip was part of my gift to my mother in a special birthday year and the highlight was the surprise rendezvous which my American cousin from Lexington, Mass., and I had arranged in a restaurant on the left bank, La Boussole (it specialises in the use of world spices in French cuisine – go there!).

It was a wonderful family reunion, and great fun catching up with all the trans-Atlantic news.  My cousin spent his summer in his seaside home in Chatham on Cape Cod.  We were spellbound by his account of the recent arrival of thousands of seals on the sand spits there, which sounded enchanting until he explained how not only are they are destroying the local fish stocks, causing concern to the New England fishing industry, but they are also attracting great white sharks which are coming dangerously close to the shore.  Both are protected species so resolving the issue so that the refreshing Atlantic waters will once again be safe for bathing is presenting a dilemma for the authorities. 

Seals 
If you would like to – safely! – indulge in a touch of the beauty of the Cape this fall, the shimmery shades of sea and shore are reflected in one of our most magnificent handknits of the collection, our Nantucket Cardigan, an exclusive, limited-edition art knit designed for us by the renowned textile artist, Kaffe Fassett.  Submerge yourself in the silky softness of this pima cotton creation and be a stylish sensation of the season!

Ann Parker-Smith, PC Europe, Goring-on-Thames, England

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September 17, 2009 Winter’s Fashionable Feast

Holiday_02A_040_lowres As the leaves change and temperatures drop, so do the latest fashion trends. Bored with mass produced, nondescript cookie cutter "fast fashion," our designers have developed a new collection that’s sure to cure the common fashion rut. We can fulfill the renewed interest among women to carefully select distinctive, investment pieces that reflect the wearer’s individuality, values and place in the world.

This season, our designers say to look for cozily voluminous A-line shapes. Usually paired with slim trousers or pencil skirts, chunky oversized sweaters will be filling the frosty streets. From our Skyline Tunic to our Paracas Felted Coat and Manta Zip Vest, we have a delicious array of billowy pieces to satisfy your fashionable cravings.

Bohemian flourishes and vintage inspirations are also abounding in this season’s collection. To add a touch of Bohemian luxury to your wardrobe, look to our Uzbek Dress or the Chelsea Fur Trimmed Coat. Cool breezes from the past radiate in our vintage Wonderland Dress, Drawing Room Blouse and our Rosebud Dress.

Holiday_05C_051_lowres Another major trend emerging this season is the Female Dandy. Influenced by Regency-era British fashion and menswear clothing, this trend delectably combines femininity, strategic tailoring and masculinity to accentuate and flatter the female body. Some necessary ingredients include ruffles, cropped jackets, tail coats, fob chains and cinched waists. Inspired from Regency-era Pride and Prejudice, our Piccadilly Riding Coat delightfully blends these Dandy features in lush velvet. Discover an aviation-inspired masculine femininity in our Meridian Shearling Jacket. Our Esplanade Jacket is not only cropped with a boxy silhouette, but it also has a distinctively charming fob chain.

Who’s better to look to for fashion advice other than the designer’s themselves? When asked about important emerging fashion trends, they unanimously nominated our Boyfriend Coat as the season’s "must-have" piece. Taking its cue from menswear, with a roomy fit and simplistic detailing, this is the perfect wear-anywhere fashion staple. In a classic chocolate brown shade, it is sure to outlive the changing fashion seasons and become a timeless favorite.

With a bevy of Autumn and Winter fashions twirling about, we have a secret to divulge: what awaits the voracious fashion world in the near future. Our designers are heading towards Surreal Classics, which adds modern, unusual twists to classics. Stay tuned for more updates on this uniquely inspiring development. For now, we hope you will explore the shimmering treasure chest of fashionable wintry options awaiting here.

Amanda Hart

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September 14, 2009 Even Abe Shops PC

DSCN2180 It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood when two of Washington's Penn Quarter businesses teamed up to promote the area's rich history. Neighboring PC's flagship store in Washington, DC are the historic Ford's Theatre and Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum.  Always the ultimate salesperson, PC's manager made sure Honest Abe had our latest catalog for his holiday shopping.

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August 28, 2009 Rebuilding New Orleans: the St. Bernard Project

Browsing through a recent issue of Real Simple, I came across their “simple list” with these startling stats:

14,000+
The number of families still seeking housing assistance
in the Greater New Orleans area – a full four years
after Hurricane Katrina.  Help get a new roof over their
heads by donating your time and money to
the St. Bernard Project, a grassroots non-profit
organization that contructs homes in less than
12 weeks for about $15,000 each. 
Visit
stbernardproject.org

The St. Bernard Project is named after the working/middle class community adjacent to New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, arguably the area hardest hit by hurricane Katrina. The St. Bernard Project is a nonprofit, community-based organization. They carry out their mission through three primary programs: a rebuilding program, a wellness and mental health center, and senior housing program.

Our new Holiday 2009 catalog was shot in New Orleans in May of 2009. This was our 2nd photo shoot there: the first was right after 9/11. Almost four years had passed since the devastating Hurricane Katrina, and we weren’t sure what to expect. What we found was the same character and beauty that we had hoped for, in the crumbling but gorgeous Antebellum mansions and unique Creole-style bungalows. Some were dangerously close to the floodwaters. While residents had rebuilt what they could, many kept the red X’s on their porches, serving as grim reminders of the tragedy and the government attempts to tally the losses.Katrina house

As the four year anniversary approaches, the city of New Orleans has made vast improvements, but still has a long way to go.  You can help in the rebuilding process with donations to the St. Bernard Project, and by spending vacation dollars amid the charm of old NOLA.

P1010022

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August 24, 2009 Balancing the Scale

Paul1920On August 26th, 1920, American women finally achieved victory in their struggle for equal voting rights with the passage of the 19th amendment. While American women were proudly waving the flag and casting their ballots, women across the Pacific were only knee-deep in the river of feminist revolution. These revolutionary concepts quickly flooded Latin American shores, but it was an arduous battle for Peruvian women against the patriarchal currents of control.

The highly stratified, aristocratic society of Peru made it extremely difficult for Peruvian women to break free from the "housewife" mold men had created for them. However, the flood gates could not withstand the international pressures promoting equality and universal voting rights.

María Jesús Alvarado is considered the "Elizabeth Cady Stanton" of the Peruvian suffrage movement. Her socialist writings and motivated activism fueled the fire for women’s suffrage in Peru at exactly the same time American women were celebrating their victory. María succeeded in founding Peru’s first women’s rights organization, Evolución Feminina, in 1915. By 1924, she was imprisoned for her "radical" ideas and then banished to Argentina.

After Carrie Chapman Catt, a forerunner of the American suffragist movement,visited Peru in 1923 the National Council of Women in Peru was founded. It was then that Peruvian women relentlessly began fighting for their right to vote. With the reality of American suffrage in the background, it was no longer a hopeless dream. However, it was not until 1955 that Peruvian women finally balanced the gender scale and gained the right to vote from President Manuel Odría, who hoped to secure their support in the upcoming presidential election.

Today is not only a day to celebrate our political freedoms here in America, but it is a day to recognize the unforgettable heroism and fervor of women worldwide.

Amanda Hart

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