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.
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.
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!
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!
by guest blogger, Julie Towner
All too often we think of “details” as over-the-top embellished garments more fitting for the “front-rowers” of Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks. We merely hear the word detail and automatically our thoughts go to ultra-sculpted silhouettes loved by the likes of Lady Gaga, or ridiculous collars and sleeves that make it impossible to execute critical and basic daily functions like physically getting that Starbucks coffee to your lips without incident. And really ladies, who wants to walk down the street thinking they’re the height of fashion, when passers by are thinking you’re actually at the height of your mental collapse!
Let’s get hold of ourselves, my friends, and realize that the most dramatic detailing doesn’t actually mean compromising our comfort or sense of self awareness! The Ready-To-Wear from designers we know and love is elegantly oozing with details that make every outfit cherished and wearable.
What is it you love about that favorite piece in your closet? What makes that item so wear-worthy you can’t bear the thought of one day not having its comfort wrap around your body? I would venture to guess that more often then not, it’s the fabric, the perfectly constructed fit, or that one thing you just can’t put your finger on: guess what…you’re in passionate love with the details. And those details not only distinguish that favorite piece, but they also make every other piece by the designer so aspirational you’ve become a loyal brand buyer.
Some designers choose to focus on feel-good fabrics,while others use signature stitches or highly tailored silhouettes. Whatever the medium for making their styles speak, details tell stories of quality, luxury, and an obtainable opulence that makes the wearer beam with beauty.
Painted Desert Cardigan, Desert Rose Pullover, Vintage Top
Peruvian Connection’s Spring 2014 line is focused on details that are refreshing, refined, and wearable, giving every piece in our collection that kiss of quality that we’re known for.
THE PIECE: Callista Sheath
THE DETAILS: Rich Italian taffeta with a hint of sheen that ups its luxe. The expertly tailored gathered bodice adds an element that takes this piece from work to weekend with ease. Callista Sheath $279
THE PIECE: Split Back Tee
THE DETAILS: The unexpected deep back vent and back-dip hem add edge without compromising elegance. Ultra soft pima blend offers a rich softness to the touch. Split Back Tee $49
THE PIECE: Painted Desert Cardigan
THE DETAILS: Notched hem with picot trim and hand crocheted edges add just a hint of oomph to an already stunning collector’s piece. Painted Desert Cardigan $389
So next time you think details, don’t be frightened! Remember every subtle stitch and eye-popping peplum a la Alexander McQueen is a detail,
a well-executed player in the way we feel about the clothes we keep in our closet.
Nothing beats a dress that can easily take you from work to cocktail hour. Don’t just take our word for it though…check out some our favorite transformations!
For work: Our Slow Current Dress, layered with the forever-favorite Nikki Lace Cardigan and simple, no-frills jewelry for a look that’s both professional and noticeable.
For night: Throw off the cardigan, cinch up the waist and add some colorful statement jewelry to make this dress a serious attention-grabber!
There’s always room for another LBD in the closet! The Elodie Dress is beyond-flattering and ready for any occasion. For work: Cover up with the divinely soft Mirador Suede Jacket, and keep it cool with some unique patinaed jewelry.
For night: Change into some strappy heels, grab a gorgeous scarf that doubles as a shawl (in case you get cold!) and load the essentials into our perfectly-sized chain strap clutch.
For work: Our Santa Croce Dress takes a professional turn paired with the Plaited Knit Cardigan, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less stylish!
For night: It doesn’t take much to turn this gorgeous number into something date-worthy. Think bright emerald heels, grand cocktail ring, fringed necklace and that just-in-case shawl.
For work: Beautiful dress + artistic sweater = one unforgettable look! Take it up a notch by adding tasseled earrings and enviable southwestern boots to the Siena Tank Dress.
For night: Show off your waist with an artsy tasseled belt, add some glitzy jewelry and trade the boots for a sexy pair of pumps. If the evening dwindles into a chillier night, cover-up with our breath-taking handcrochet cardigan.
The story of our hand crochet Mirabelle Dress begins in Peru, with four talented women. It takes the four women five days to make just one dress, and countless hours of experience perfecting every tiny stitch.
One of the women has been crocheting for as long as she can remember, learning from her mother and grandmother. Today this woman runs the hand crochet business in Peru that supplies our Mirabelle Dress (and many others!). She finds crochet to be calming, because she is able to do most of it “without thinking too much… her hands just do the work.”
Today, she gets to enjoy doing what she loves and making sure this beautiful art form is carried on by future generations. She makes sure that the people she employees are educated in a wide variety of crochet stitches and techniques, so they too are able to make a living from doing it. These wearable hand crochet pieces are more than fashion, they represent a cultural heritage, a lifelong passion, and a remarkable form of art.
Paradoxically when we are in the depths of winter with the mercury plummeting outside, designers are thinking about clothing for sun-drenched days. Trying to evoke this mood when the snow is a foot deep and you are wrapped in several layers of clothing means creating inspiration boards to ignite the heat of warmer days ahead.
Inspired by the exquisite John Singer Sargent watercolor exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston offered a wonderful doorway through which to step to start the design process. The incredible skill with which he captured sunlight and color immediately transports us to another time and place far from the winter outside. The exhibition brings together the watercolors he selected to be shown in the United States in two exhibitions in 1909 and 1912, and displays his completely mastery of the technique. Sargent’s friend and biographer said that “to live with Sargent’s watercolors is to live with sunshine captured and held.”
Color Inspiration from John Singer Sargent’s ‘Corfu Light and Shadows’, 1909, and detail.
Sargent’s skill in watercolor makes the paintings seem almost as realistic as photographs from a distance, but as you step closer, the individual colors that create the illusion are clear and brilliant. When viewed at very close quarters they are even more beautiful, and were the starting point using paint and mixes of colored thread and swatches to inspiring new blends of color and texture.
Color inspiration from ‘The Cashmere Shawl’. Mixed thread inspirations from detail of shawl and pointelle lace swatch. The figure is silhouetted against an earth toned wall. We love a distressed plaster wall, and the soft mauve browns in the background are exquisite counterpoints to the pale neutrals in the drapery. Perfect hues for high summer.
Watercolor paintings, even when blown-up in scale, always seem to be completely harmonious. Mixing yarns in little pieces of crochet is a perfect way to decide on combinations. The best results will each be worked into a garment where sometimes over 30 different colors are used – even seemingly “solid” colors may be plaited with a complimentary color to create intriguing new blends. The small circular motifs were the start of an idea for patterning on a cardigan.
Inspiration from ‘Carrara: Lizzatori’, 1911. Crochet color swatches, yarns and illustration.
See the John Singer Sargent exhibit next at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, March 2 through May 26.