As the 2008 Fall and Winter season comes to an end, the excitement for another great season awaits us for 2009. Weeks ago, the art team, design team and Annie all met at Canaan Farm in Tonganoxie, Kansas to kick-off the new 2009 Fall and Winter season. Here we begin discussions on the upcoming collection, encompassing all of the finer details such as cuffs on jackets to the more broad aspects such as finding locations for our photo shoots and developing initial catalog layouts.
Being the Wisconsin native that I am, I check the five-day forecast to see what the weather will be like during my visit to Tonganoxie. As nice as it appeared to be, the 45-60 degree days did not make me want to bring my cold weather apparel. Besides, I have been more accustomed to the frigid 20 degree and below zero days. A 45-degree day is referred to a “heat wave” in my part of the country. So as the weather was predicted, I left the warm, fuzzy sweaters at home in Wisconsin.
Upon my arrival to Canaan Farm, I quickly find myself chilled by the unexpected weather change. Of course, my counterparts Amy S and Annie were bundled up in their Frascati Cardigans from the 2008 Winter Collection. They looked so warm and comfortable! Not to mention they were complemented by their hip, yet stylish skinny jeans, black tees and boots. What was I thinking…not to bring my warm fuzzy? I took notice of the cardigan they were wearing because it was a great buy in the winter catalog and now it was ON SALE! I did have the boots, jeans and a white tee to match them, but no cardigan. As my body temperature continued to cool and before I got too cold, I placed an order for the warm cardigan. A staff member from our order center brought me my cardigan within the hour. The three of us proceeded with our discussions in style, comfort and most importantly, warmth. An unpredicted cold day in Tonganoxie, Kansas could not stop us from completing our project.
Now that I’m back in Wisconsin, the cardigan has been a hit! All my girlfriends, even my mother, love it and want to know where they can get one of their own. Peruvian Connection, I say…and the best part about the cardigan is the little suede elbow patches. They remind me of what I saw on Mr. Roger’s cardigans years ago when I was a kid. The suede elbow patches cannot exactly be seen very well in the catalog or on the website, but they are there and it does put them a few steps higher than the typical boyfriend cardigan I am used to seeing. And of course, it is super soft like all my other Peruvian Connection sweaters, made from a cozy combination of royal llama and wool…nothing like any other wool sweaters. –Krista C
February in Kansas is a time of transition, teasing us with the occasional 70 degree day, then plunging back into the depths of winter. For some Kansans (mostly teens and twenty-somethings), the warm weather brings a premature debut of camisoles, flip flops and shorts. For others, it makes us want to work the bare soil more than to show some bare skin.
I mull over the latest and greatest offerings from the seed companies and am tempted by the amazing blue color of a Himalayan Blue Poppy, but since it is as inappropriate in Kansas as flip flops in February, I settle for new varieties of Asiatic Lilies, among other things. After placing my online order, I wait patiently for warmer weather and the first few spring blooms poking up from the soil.
I look forward to coming out of winter hibernation by dressing in the lighter, brighter colors of spring and occasional florals. This year, spring fever will be even harder to bear, since PC's spring catalog won't be available until mid March. In the meantime, here is a glimpse of some of PC's springy floral offerings:
If you are as impatient as I am, here are a few spring flowers that are available now:
Peony Bed Cardigan
Floating Lotus Cardigan
Floral Lacework Tunic
Handknit Jolie Cardigan
Peruvian Connection designers have been creating some of the most coveted knit and woven designs around for over 30 years now. We are so proud of their talent and endless capacity for innovation and creativity that we thought it would be fun to let you meet a few of them…see what makes them tick. Today we begin with Tabbetha as she answers just a few questions for us. Tabbetha has designed knitwear for Peruvian Connection for 14 years.
Tabbetha (center) at PC’s Washington store opening with the Ambassador of Peru, PC’s director of South American operations, the owner’s daughters, and Tabbetha’s husband, Jeremy.
What made you want to become a designer?
I don’t know when I made the conscious decision to become a designer. I have loved making clothes and working with textiles since I was a young kid. I spent a lot of time with my mom, grandma and aunt who were always knitting, sewing or crocheting. I joined in and used their leftovers to make clothes for my dolls – some of which I still have! I was a fast learner and picked up the different techniques quickly. At some point in junior high school, my mother had purchased the supplies for us to make a pair of corduroy jeans – together. One day, she came home from work and I had completed them without her – including the fly zipper! From then on, I have had my own sewing machine. Throughout high school, I worked at my mom’s knitting shop, then at a wonderful Kansas City fabric shop while attending the Kansas City Art Institute. I studied textiles and fashion textiles in college. I have worked for two wonderful clothing companies since college – Asiatica in Kansas City and then for Peruvian Connection.
What inspires you?
My travels – I have been to India, Turkey, Spain, Morocco, Italy, France, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay, lived in England, and I am planning a trip to Iceland in January…only for 3 days…but I am excited to see a country with such a great knitting tradition.
Some of the highlights of my travel:
met H.H. the Dalai Lama in India on a trip with a Buddhist group from KC.
traveled through Turkey with 2 friends – taking buses and trains all through the country. We bought textiles, ate fabulous Turkish food, and saw the sites. I also was in Turkey on another occasion to take a workshop with a Turkish feltmaker.
I was in Oaxaca, Mexico for the Day of the Dead celebration (1989!)
lived & studied in Brighton, England for about 6 months.
have seen the Mediterranean from the Spanish coast, the Moroccan coast and the Turkish coast – it may be my favorite body of water
have been traveling to South America for over 14 years. I have had the privilege of being to Machu Picchu 3 times (climbing to the top of Huayna Picchu once), I have been to Ollantaytambo, Pisac, Cusco, and the ruins at Tiahuanaco on the Bolivian side.
I collect textiles and other goodies from everywhere I go which totally influences all of my designs. It is not only the textiles – but I also take TONS of photos (especially now that everything is digital) and use those images in my designs.
The DAHLIA skirt and jacket from Spring ’06 was from a photo I took in Agra, India (where the Taj Mahal is).
I get inspired by looking at old textiles, ethnic textiles, and new techno textiles as well. The materials that I am working with also inspire and influence what I do. I can get motivated by looking at what other designers are doing. There is a great art community here in Kansas City with many fiber artists living here. Seeing interesting or unusual clothes on the street can give me new ideas. Sometimes just being at an art exhibit or a concert can make me want to come home and work in my studio.
What are you working on right now?
For Peruvian Connection, I am getting ready to start developing knit designs for the Spring 2010 season. It is hard to believe! I am also knitting a cardigan for my niece that will be covered in embroidered flowers.
What is your favorite piece of clothing?
It is tough to pick just one piece. My favorite sweater (this is really a tough one) is my long Rabari alpaca cardigan from Peruvian Connection a few years ago. My favorite dress is one I bought this summer at Urban Zen – Donna Karan’s new project. My favorite accessory is a piece from Liz Collins: a long brown wool scarf with leather strips of ruffles knitted into it.
Some of Tabbetha’s Designs:
Lotus Flower Kimono
Dynasty Jacquard Kimono
With all the buzz about what Michelle Obama will be wearing to the Inauguration and in her first days as our First Lady, I can’t help but wonder what she might select from Peruvian Connection. Designers and catalogues alike are clamoring to clothe America’s next style icon. The black and white sundress she wore on The View was a recession-friendly $148, selling out immediately. The tailored silhouettes she wore on the summer campaign trail showed off her trim arms and classic style. Her scarlet-and-black election night dress from Narciso Rodriguez showed no fear of figure-flattering brights.
If I had the honor of being her personal shopper, here are a few picks from our current collections that I think would suit her sophisticated style:
Black Suede Corset Dress
Berkeley Cowlneck Dress
What PC styles do you think she should wear?
A resolution adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations back in 2005 is now coming to fruition. 2009 is declared the International Year of Natural Fibres.
The International Year of Natural Fibres will be officially launched on January 22, 2009, at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome.
raise awareness and stimulate demand for natural fibres;
promote the efficiency and sustainability of the natural fibres industries;
encourage appropriate policy responses from governments to the problems faced by natural fibre industries;
foster an effective and enduring international partnership among the various natural fibres industries
From the Resolution:
"Noting the diverse range of natural fibres produced in many countries provides an important source of income for farmers, and thus can plays an important role in contributing to food security and in eradicating poverty. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations encourages all governments and non-governmental organizations as well as the private sector to take advantage of the Year in order to increase awareness of the importance of these natural products."
Look for these natural fibres in Peruvian Connection designs: Pima Cotton, Alpaca, Wool, Silk, Linen