There just isn’t enough room in our catalogues or even on our website to fully describe how special some of our pieces are, and a classic example of that is the Shipibo Artisan Shawl pictured together with the Audrey Dress in the fall catalogue. Here at Peruvian Connection, we take great pride in the fact that part of our company vision is to “promote and perpetuate Andean and other artisan textile traditions.” This shawl is a beautiful example of traditional South American Indian art.
The Shipibo community is comprised of about 35,000 people spread about in a few hundred villages primarily situated along the Rió Ucayali which connects with the Rió Maranon to form the Rió Amazonas (Amazon River). The Shipibo tribe has maintained a strong tribal identity despite centuries of contact with Peruvians and Europeans.
Our shawls are woven in Peru and then transported in canoes up the Amazon River and into its branches to reach the Shipibo people. Once the intricate embroidery work is completed by the native artisans, the shawls are carried in canoes back to the city, and then shipped on to the Peruvian Connection distribution centers in the US and UK.
The artistry to create the geometric designs used by the Shipibo is passed from one generation to the next. However, the artists believe that each individual design comes from a specific inspiration of the same artistic spirit. Commonly the women will work together to produce a single piece and one woman can interrupt her work and another woman or women can complete it with the finished piece looking as if it was made by a single artist – communal art at its finest!
Although there are varying theories about the meaning of the unique Shipibo geometric patterns (some anthropologists believe it an ancient language form and others see it as a mapping of the rivers of the Amazon) art lovers can appreciate the beautiful designs and original look of the Shipibo designs and this shawl can be worn or displayed as the beautiful piece of native artistry that it is.
Growing up in Kansas, I drove by the old stone barn at Lakeview for many years. We'd take our Afghan hound to run at the lake, watching the adorable spring lambs frolicking outside the barn as we passed by. We drove by the old barn on the way to the dairy, where my well-intentioned parents bought fresh milk so that my brother and I could get a taste of the country – a little too much of a "taste" for me. Fast forward several decades to 2009: finally I got the chance to see the inside of that old barn.
On the quest for photo shoot locations that measured up to Italy, Mexico, Peru and beyond, we searched high and low for beautiful old buildings, majestic landscapes and walls with that perfect patina of time. It wasn't until one of the other location owners suggested the Taylor Barn that we took a closer look. I was awestruck to see the arched windows, masterful stonework and hand-hewn wooden beams in the 3-story barn, built in 1879.
Our photo shoot crew struggled to stay warm with electric heaters, down comforters and lively music, thanks to the unpredictable Kansas weather. The warm hospitality of barn owners Chuck and Debi Taylor made up for it all. We warmed our toes and our souls inside their restored Victorian farmhouse, where we enjoyed the fantastic smells of one of Debi's other sidelines, Rangeland Herbs, makers of handcrafted natural soaps.
Stay tuned for more on the Fall 2009 catalog – coming soon!
On April 26, Peruvian Connection fans and staff enjoyed a high-energy benefit described as “the most professional fashion show in Kansas City.” The New York style runway show raised more than $285,000 for Kansas City’s Truman Medical Peri-natal Diagnostics center. Approximately 1000 philanthropic attendees were treated to some of our best looks for Spring, plus exclusive previews of the Fall 2009 collection. Attendees also enjoyed complimentary gift bags from Peruvian Connection. The frenetic pace of the show challenged PC designers who facilitated beautifully from behind the scenes. The rest of us here at PC thank Annie and the designers for all their hard work!
View Prizm Productions’ pre-show campaign video about Truman Medical Charitable Foundation on YouTube.
For a taste of the top-level production quality and energy that go into this event, view Prizm Productions’ video of last year’s fashion show and interviews.
View the Foley-Photography photo gallery of this event or purchase prints.
April 23 was “Bring Your Daughters & Sons to Work Day”, a nation-wide program dedicated to helping our nation’s daughters and sons explore their future opportunities at work, at home, and in the community. Twelve daughters and sons and grandchildren of employees (and friends of employees), ages 8 to 15, spent the day at Peruvian Connection’s Tonganoxie, KS headquarters. Activities were planned to help the boys and girls experience what’s involved and required for a job and to discuss the challenges of integrating work and family responsibilities. Various departments sponsored hands-on activities where the children had the opportunity to design an article of clothing, listen in on actual customer calls, process and ship orders, think about career choices and play a game of Peruvian Bingo. Thanks to all the kids who participated!
The big kid is PC’s own Anthony “Uncle Tony” Brooks, Computer Systems Analyst and tour guide for the day.
Visiting kids were invited to the Design Department to draw their own fashion designs.
In the Packing Department, employees demonstrated the detailed work that makes top-notch product presentation.
In Shipping and Fulfillment, kids learned how to scan and ship packages.
After a tornado tore through Peruvian Connection's hometown of Tonganoxie in 2000, PC set up a fund to help beautify the storm-ravaged parks and city trees. Many trees were planted and tended over the past few years and this year those funds built the new Master Gardener's toolshed in the town's Magnatech Park. Peruvian Connection groundskeeper, Angie Andrews, well on her way to becoming a certified Master Gardener, is helping to procure new tools for PC to equip the shed.
Peruvian Connection's headquarters as seen in Spring 2008
Around Tonganoxie, school children and members of the community are helping promote a greener way of life through recycling efforts, tree planting, and educational programs.