March 23, 2014 How the T-shirt got its stripes, and all things variegated

by PC designer, Karen

The easiest way to update your wardrobe this season is with stripes. At Peruvian Connection, we love them all, from classic bi-color stripes to rich multicolored tones, and we even have textured stripes: the more the better. So it seemed a good moment for a little history lesson on the origin of how stripes became such a perennial favorite in our wardrobes.

On the 27th of March 1858, an Act of France was passed, when the navy and white striped knitted matelot became the uniform for navy seamen in Brittany, France. The striped shirts made it easier to see men in the waves if they fell overboard. Originally, there were always 21 stripes, one for each of Napoleon’s victories. Eventually its functionality lead it to become the accepted garment for all seafarers in Northern France.

French sailors in Breton Stripes

French sailors in Breton Stripes

The transformation from sailor’s uniform to fashion statement came in 1917 when Coco Chanel was inspired by the ease of these humble garments to create her Nautical collection. She often wore her casual striped tops with soft, wide legged pants, and this became a statement of relaxed chic that still resonates today.

Fotor0319124723Our version takes one of our beautiful ethnographically-inspired dress prints, and by intersecting it with white, we’ve created a striped tee that is uniquely PC, the Iztapa Tee.

puno collageBut at Peruvian Connection we love stripes so much we cannot limit ourselves to only making striped tops. Colors and patterns from faded textiles and nature were our inspiration when we created the Puno Dress, shown above.

bark mantaWhen looking for stripe ideas, we build inspiration boards of pictures by color and texture, and then play with paint and yarn until we have just the right balance of scale and contrast. Sometimes it’s easy to see the direct inspiration, at other times we like to play down the color and go for a more neutral color palette, but with bolder scales of stripes.

Screen shot 2014-03-19 at 1.11.49 PM

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stripes

Rue du Bac Trench, Marinero Dress and Berry Striped Scarf

The one thing you can always be sure of though, at Peruvian Connection, we’ve never met a stripe we didn’t like!

Shop all Stripes

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March 19, 2014 ¡Cheers to Pisco!

piscosour

 

Pisco Sour

Probably the most famous Pisco drink of them all—and for good reason!—the Pisco Sour is similar to a margarita, with the frothy addition of egg whites.  My recipe is pretty standard, with a simple swap of agave nectar for simple syrup.  Key limes work best, if you can find them!

Ingredients (for 2 drinks):

4 oz Peruvian Pisco

1 oz agave nectar

2 oz lime juice

1 egg white

Dash of bitters

Ice

In a shaker (or a jar), combine all ingredients except the bitters and fill halfway with ice.  Shake vigorously (with all your might!!) for at least 10 seconds.  Strain into 2 glasses and top with a couple drops of bitters each.

 

 

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Blushing Pisco Crush

Be forewarned, this drink tastes like candy…delicious Raspberry-Ginger candy!

Ingredients (for 2 drinks):

4 oz Peruvian Pisco

4 oz ginger ale

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely minced

4 fresh raspberries

Ice

In each glass, smash together 2 raspberries and 1 teaspoon ginger.  Fill each halfway with ice, then add the pisco and the ginger ale.  Stir to combine.

 

 

 Pisco Sangria

 

Cinnamon-Citrus Sangria

Both being made from grapes, Pisco and wine are destined to go together!  Especially when you turn them into a fruity, delicious sangria!

Ingredients (for 1 large pitcher):

1 bottle dry red wine

1 cup (8 oz) Peruvian Pisco

½ cup (4 oz) Cointreau or Triple Sec

12oz can ginger ale (about 1 ½ cups)

2 oranges

2 lemons

2 limes

2 cinnamon sticks

Ice

In a large pitcher, squeeze the juice from the fruit and then cut them into segments.  Add the fruit segments to the pitcher, along with the wine, pisco, cointreau and the cinnamon sticks.  Allow the mixture to marinate for at least 2 hours.  Just before serving, add the ginger ale and the ice.

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Say It With Tassels

Peruviantasselsopen

 

Pablo Neruda once mused on Peru as the land of “yellow tassels.”  Always one to play with words, Neruda was surely referring to more than just the rising stalks of corn that “grace the heights of Peru.”  Indeed, tassels are everywhere—swinging from handknit hats, coloring the ears of alpacas and even dotting the landscape.

 

Peruvianwarriors

 

The use of tassels—for adornment and ceremonial purposes—goes back almost as far as Peru’s history.  In ancient times, tassels were symbols of power.  Not only were they used to designate social standings, they were also used to honor and label mighty warriors.  The most powerful warriors would be layered with the most tassels, and have the tallest tasseled headdresses (much like the function of a birds plume).

 

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Even today, tassels are used for labeling purposes in Peru, especially with livestock.  Forget branding, the Peruvians “tag” their alpacas with a specific tassel in the ear—these tassels not only designate the village and the owner, they also serve to distinguish male and female alpacas from a distance (because the different genders have different functions).

 

Peruviantasseled

 

Of course, tassels are also just a favorite adornment in Peru!  Tassels ornament ceremonial dance outfits, they fringe bridal hats, or ponchos or shawls…or anything you can wear!  Our spring collection is bursting with bright, cheerful tassels—straight from the heart of Peru.  Check out some of our favorite tasseled treasures:

 

tasselblogcollage

Top row: Ucayali Poncho, Caravan Earrings, Inti Cardigan; Bottom row: Tassel Earrings, Pacaya Handcrochet Bag, Merida Necklace

 

 

 

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March 17, 2014 Finding Parisian Inspiration at Première Vision

by guest blogger, Julie

Every year our wovens designers take to Paris, elbowing through the masses of likeminded creators entering the fabric mecca of Première Vision. The only tradeshow of its kind, Première Vision houses 740 of the top fabric mills from over 28 countries. Navigating the landscape – discovering plush new textures, refreshingly original patterns, and intriguing new weaving techniques – excited gasps can be heard in every language imaginable. It’s on this hallowed ground that inspiration, which pumps the heartbeat of our brand, is found.

Gathering inspiration at Première Vision: design sketches, antique lace, the convention hall, and a much needed glass of wine!

Gathering inspiration at Premiere Vision: design sketches, antique lace, the convention hall, and a much needed glass of wine!

With this new spark of almost-divine inspiration filling their bodies and sending their brains into a flurry of fashion to come, our team heads back to Canaan Farm. Collaborating with knitwear designers, the wovens designers add their inspiration to the the ever-important seasonal mood boards. These Mood Boards, telling a season’s story, are creatively cluttered with swatches, tear sheets and photos. Bits and pieces of haberdashery from travels to far-off lands adorn the board’s terrain, accompanied by statuesque croquis dressed in quickly sketched silhouettes.   Almost magically, the mood board takes on a life of its own. As yarn dyes are added, swatches subtracted, sketches scrapped then pasted back again, the mood organically morphs from its initial intended state, to almost perfect, and finally growing into “I think we’ve got it”.

It’s this process of clever collaboration between our Wovens and Knits design teams that  fuels the fashions for the season. Feeling, touching and inhaling new ideas, new creativity, and new concepts, shapes the collections of seasons to come at Peruvian Connection. We know that if your eyes are eager and your thoughts are clear and open, inspiration can be found everywhere you look. The smallest, most easily overlooked object can provoke genius, an off-the-cuff comment can cultivate exquisiteness – but it never hurt anyone’s creative flow to visit Première Vision.

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February 27, 2014 Huichol Beaders: Crafting Culture into Fashion

 

huicholopener

Faced with the possibility of vanishing into modernity, the indigenous Huichol tribe of Mexico is instead harnessing the power of tradition to keep afloat.  The vibrant Huichol culture is intimately connected with and expressed through art.  Creativity is believed to be a gift from the gods that everyone strives to attain, and, in return, the art becomes a gift for the gods. A tradition that is passed down from generation to generation, Huichol art is very distinctive—meticulously woven by hand using tiny beads.

huicholbeadblog

Not surprisingly, Huichol women are adorned in the most beautiful beaded creations—bold, graphic earrings, bracelets and necklaces that any woman would covet.   An American anthropologist named Susana Valadez set out to share these wearable artifacts with the rest of the world, and, in the process, help preserve the endangered culture (which is much like the story behind Peruvian Connection!).  Susana partnered with Huichol women and started a line of altruistic jewelry, which has not only helped keep the art form alive, but has also helped bring much-needed income into the remote community.

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It has been 20 years, and the line of jewelry has since been featured on celebrities, runways and fashion shoots.  Each piece is woven by hand using only 2 tiny needles, glass beads and nylon thread—taking anywhere from a half day to an entire week to create.  The smoothness and lightness of their creations is not found in any other beadwork.  It’s not just fashion—it’s a tradition, a culture and a cause!

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We’re proud to make this Huichol artistry part of our Spring 2014 collection.  Check out the  Nomad Earrings above, or the sparkly Beaded Fringe Earrings below!

An artisan creates a pair of Beaded Fringe Earrings

 

 

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