November 13, 2009 The Art of Chinese Silk

Bombyx_mori

From ancient Andean knits, Argentinean leather and Austrian crystal, we transcend global boundaries, searching the world for the most treasured resources. More recently, we have tapped into the vast wealth of Eastern textile traditions, most importantly China’s unprecedented silk legacy. Our talented designers and dedicated pattern makers have partnered with the world’s foremost silk manufacturers to bring you the most coveted fashions.

Chinese legend bestows Lady His-Ling-Shih with the mythical title Goddess of Silk, who is credited with the advent of silk production in China from 3000BC. Her monumental silk heritage may not be as far fetched as it seems. In fact, silkworms will only eat fresh mulberry trees and for thousands of years these trees were found only in China and Japan. It was not until 600 AD that the indigenous mulberry tree was smuggled out of China and brought westward.

Silkworms2

China’s magical silk legacy lies within its unique cultivation of the blind, flightless moth, Bombyx Mori. It is believed that the original ancestor of this moth was the Bombyx Mandarina Moore, a silk moth that lived on the white mulberry trees found only in China. Today, China is still the leading cultivator of this special moth species, which produces the finest, smoothest and roundest filament. The production of high quality silk is highly complicated and time-demanding, requiring precise temperature and diet regulations. The Chinese have long been heralded for their meticulous cultivation of these sensitive moths.

Silkworm eggs must be cultivated at 65 degrees, gradually and steadily increasing to 77 degrees, at which point they will hatch. Once hatched, the worms are regularly fed fresh, hand-picked mulberry leaves every half hour, day and night, multiplying their weight 10,000 times within a single month. During this period of growth, they must be kept at a fixed temperature and protected from loud noises, drafts and strong smells. Classical music is often played softly in the background, which increases their rate of growth.

Cocoons2
 
After they have stored up enough energy, the silkworms will spend 3 or 4 days spinning a cloud-like cocoon around themselves. When they are ready to be unwound for their precious silk filaments, about 8 or 9 days later, the worms are gently dipped into hot water to loosen the tight threads. From each cocoon a single filament between 2,000 and 2,500 feet long will be obtained, which is then twisted together with 5 to 8 other filaments to make a single thread! It is at this point that the threads can be woven into beautiful cloth.

Rawsilk

Today China is the leading producer of silk in the world, and for good reasons! Here at Peruvian Connection, we have been reveling in the luxury of fine, Chinese silk, which is like no other. We invite you to delight your senses in our exclusive silk confections, such as the French Quarter Dress, the Rosebud Dressor even the Black Magic Skirt, bringing to you our distinctive designs on a palette of prized silk.

–Amanda Hart


 

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October 30, 2009 The Film Noir LBD


Lauren Bacall 
Film Noir is described as "a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations." Inspired by Lauren Bacall's character in "Scandal in Bohemia", our Film Noir Dress fits the bill as the perfectly stylish Little Black Dress, with a subtle but sexy front slit, low v-neck, and retro-chic broad shoulders.  Playing Irene Adler in the Sherlock Holmes crime drama, Bacall would have wowed them with the 2009 version of her dress.

Film Noir Dress
Film Noir Dress

Look for more femme fatale styles in the new Sherlock Holmes movie, coming in December 2009, starring Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes and Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler. According to the movie's website, we shall see Detective Sherlock Holmes and his stalwart partner Watson as they engage in a battle of wits and brawn with a nemesis whose plot is a threat to all of England.

Irene Adler

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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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