October 24, 2013 All Saints Day in Peru

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All Hallows Day in America may be overshadowed by costumes, trick-or-treating and jack o’ lanterns the night before, but let’s not forget why zombies and ghosts fill the streets on Halloween.  Celebrated on November 1st, this Christian ritual, also known as All Saints Day, honors those who have attained saintliness in heaven. The following day, known as All Souls Day, commemorates the departed who have yet to reach heaven and remain trapped in purgatory.  When the Spaniards arrived in Peru in the 16th century, they brought these rituals with them.  The Incas always maintained a strong connection with their deceased ancestors, offering them gifts and requesting assistance, so the ideas behind All Saints Day and All Souls Day were easily absorbed.  To this day, the Peruvian celebration of these rituals, known as Dia de los Difuntos, “Day of the Deceased,” focuses on departed ancestors and their indelible connection to those living on earth.

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In Peru, the celebration is rooted in the belief that the souls of deceased relatives visit earth on this day.  It is the family’s duty to ensure that plenty of food is available for these departed souls in order to fuel their journey in the afterlife.  In more rural areas, families may share their meal on the grave of the deceased relative and leave some behind, while in other areas, families will simply bring food or flowers to the grave.  Either way, lively music is likely to fill the air, along with the smells of roasted pig, the most traditional food to enjoy on Dia de los Difuntos.

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In addition to the roast pig, you’ll likely find “bread babies,” or Tanta Wawas, filling gravesites, decorating the dinner table and entertaining children.  Tanta Wawas are made from a brioche-like dough usually in the shape of a baby, to signify the beginning of the life cycle.  It’s common in some regions to find horse-shaped Wawas or even staircases, both of which are meant to assist an ancestor in their journey from earth to the other realm.

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Since the focus is on remembering the dead as they were when living, Peruvian graves are a live “scrapbook” of the deceased. Often, the grave will be gifted with the favorite food or drink of the deceased–it’s not uncommon to spot a beer, a soda or even a bottle of pisco inside the framed glass enclosures that mark an individual’s grave in Peru.  These glass enclosures are a window into the life of the deceased.  Even as a stranger from another country, you can get the sense of how someone lived, what they liked and who they were from the meaningful display in front of their grave.

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October 23, 2013 PC is in the News!

Rachael Ray wearing our Cheval Pendant on the October cover of EveryDay.

Rachael Ray wearing our Cheval Pendant on the October cover of EveryDay.

Peruvian Connection got a kickstart back in 1979 thanks to an article in the New York Times style section…we’ve been big believers in the power of the press ever since.  PC has been in the news lately, with mentions in a number of popular blogs as well as in print features. The latest edition of KC Magazine, features an interview with our founder, Annie Hurlbut, telling the story of PC’s roots on the family farm in Tonganoxie, Kansas.

Annie Hurlbut with Georgina of "Notes on Lifestyle by Georgina".

Annie Hurlbut with Georgina of “Notes on Lifestyle by Georgina”.

Jonelle of Jo Traveler has been a PC customer and follower for 15 years, and made the trip to Kansas to visit our headquarters in September.

LiquidHip, an alternative review site that covers the cool, new and artistic, gives Peruvian Connection and its Art Knits a 9.5 on their Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

Our retail stores have been garnering praise in the blogosphere–check out the latest comments about our stores and Fall / Holiday collections:
Boston:
Racked Boston
Bostinno.com
Bostonista
Scorpion Disco
Height of Style
Notes on Lifestyle by Georgina
Where Boston

Renata of Scorpion / Disco in PC's Bella Lace Pullover and Ayaviri Dress.

Renata of Scorpion / Disco in PC’s Bella Lace Pullover and Ayaviri Dress.

Kacy of "The Height of Style" in PC's Lucia Silk Pinafore.

Kacy of “The Height of Style” in PC’s Lucia Silk Pinafore.

Kelsey of "Tickle Me Pink" in our Inlet Pullover.

Kelsey of “Tickle Me Pink” in our Inlet Pullover.

Chicago:
included on Michigan Avenue‘s list of 2013′s Best Places to Shop
Red Soles & Red Wine
Sassy Moms in the City
Racked Chicago
PureWow Chicago
Jess & Jill

Jen of Red Soles & Red Wine, in PC's Bedouin Knit Coat.

Jen of “Red Soles & Red Wine”, in PC’s Bedouin Knit Coat.

Jill of "Jess & Jill" in our Macedonia Pencil Skirt.

Jill of “Jess & Jill” in our Macedonia Pencil Skirt.

Look for features coming up soon in EveryDay with Rachael Ray, Women’s Health and Good Housekeeping!

Visit the store nearest you:
Washington DC  -  San Francisco –  Chicago –  Santa Fe  - Kansas City –  Boston  -  London

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October 21, 2013 Finding the Perfect Coat for Your Shape

‘Tis the season to layer-up, but that doesn’t mean you have to bury your fashion sense under a frumpy, unflattering coat.  We put together an easy guide to help you find the right winter topper to flatter your shape. To make a sweet deal even sweeter, take advantage of our $25 rebate towards the tailor of your choice!

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If you’re a Pear-Shape…

Then fit-and-flare shapes are your best bet.  Look for styles that slim through the bodice and flare out through the hips, like our Mireille Maxi Coat.  These concealing shapes give you the room you need without compromising your smallness up top.  Another trick to balance out wider-on-bottom shapes is to add volume up top, with details like wide lapels, big fancy buttons, breast pockets and double-breasted plackets.   Don’t forget to look for coats that hit below the hips! Check out our Belgravia Trench and Black Forest Wrap Coat, they add volume up top, cinch the waist and A-line past the hips for a flattering fit.

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If you’re an Apple-Shape…

Then A-lined, looser-waisted coats are for you!  Think Car Coats and Cocoon Coats.  Their boxier shapes help conceal wider middles, giving you the extra space without sacrificing a great fit everywhere else.  Silhouettes that A-line from the shoulder really help showcase your smaller frame up-top.   Check out some of our best Car Coats: the Excursion Coat and the Hamburg Coat.  What’s more, these coats are the most flattering length for your shape—past the hips.  To keep attention off the middle, you don’t want a coat that hits right there.  And let’s not forget our vintage-looking Cocoon Coat, it tapers in slightly at the bottom, to help keep those hips looking slim.

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If you’re an Hourglass-shape…

Then shapely waist-cinched coats are the way to go!  Look for something with a waist seam or even a belt to show off your small waist (like our Black Forest Wrap Coat and Belgravia Trench).  Long coats shouldn’t be ruled out (as long as you’re not petite!), but for the most part above-the-knee shapes will most greatly flatter curves without hiding them.  Styles like our Swallowtail Coat that have a tailored, fitted bodice and an A-lined hem accentuate all the right spots without overemphasizing those curves.

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If you’re Straight Up & Down…

Then seek out curve-creating styles.  Seamed bodices, double-breasted plackets, peplums, defined waists and pleats are all your friends! You want shapely details, not fill-you-out bulkiness. Fit-and-flare shapes with a nipped-in waist will give you a curvy look without the bulk.   Unless you’re petite, longer lengths can also work for you.  Check out our ankle-grazing Mireille Maxi Coat and Rivoli Coat.   Let’s not forget defined shoulders!  We’re not talking jumbo 80’s puff shoulders, but slight padding, epaulets, or even seaming create even more shape up top.  Our Swallowtail Coat has everything you need to create flattering shape while maintaining that slim, tailored look.

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If you’re a Petite “Short Stack” (5’4” or below)…

Then go no further than your knees!  Long coats (past the knee) will only shorten the look of those legs!  Worst of all is a voluminous long coat…nothing will dwarf you quicker.  The most flattering, elongating style is a knee-length coat with an empire waist, belt or fitted bodice, all of which create a taller illusion (like our Belgravia Trench and Winter Ombré Coat).  Another trick of the trade is to draw eyes upward with details at the neckline, such as fur-trim or an extra-wide collar, such as our Anatolian Coat

 

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Carrot artwork courtesy of http://www.artisticrealism.com/paintings/carrot-oil-painting.jpg

Then look for coats that don’t put the focus on your chest—opt for details at the neck or hem and avoid big pockets at the bust.  Coats that A-line from the shoulder can help balance things out by bringing more volume to the bottom without putting more on top.  Our Excursion Coat does just that, plus it has a zipper so you won’t have to worry about the gaping-button syndrome!  Not that buttons are a bad thing.  For the most part, a single-breasted placket will be the most flattering, as double-breasted plackets tend to emphasize the bust.  Long lengths help draw the eye downwards, so go for coats that are hip-length or longer.  We recommend the Cocoon Coat or the Black Forest Wrap Coat!

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Scarf it Up

The Cityscape Shawl, artfully knotted over the Borealis Pullover.

The Cityscape Shawl, artfully knotted over the Borealis Pullover.

There are at least as many ways to tie a scarf as there are days in a month, and judging from the popularity of scarf tying on Pinterest, they’re hotter than ever.  There’s the waterfall, European loop, double rainbow, mira, infinity, boa, vintage housewife, and the list goes on. Scarves are the perfect transitional accessory for this October weather when it isn’t really cold, but not quite balmy either, adding a touch of warmth, color and a boho vibe.

There are a dozens of tutorials and how-to pages on YouTube- with more than 20 million views and clever editing, this one will get you up to speed on the latest and greatest in under 5 minutes:   25 Ways to Wear a Scarf in 4.5 Minutes!

Hermès, famous for their fabulously luxe silk scarves, even has a scarf tying app, Silk Knots.  If you splurge on an iconic Hermès scarf, you will receive set of scarf knotting cards, with 21 Ways to Tie an Hermès Scarf.

For scarves of alpaca, silk, wool, mohair and super-soft blends, see our Fall/Holiday scarves.

 

 

 

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October 7, 2013 PC’s Favorite Photo Shoot Locations

Biddy and Annie Hurlbut on Canaan Farm in the '70s.

Biddy and Annie Hurlbut on Canaan Farm in the ’70s.

Over Peruvian Connection’s 37 years, we’ve trekked to some magical places, searching for the perfect backdrop to photograph our globally-inspired collections. The first few catalogs were shot in the backyard at Canaan Farm, where the company began. Founders Biddy and Annie, as well as their family and friends, modeled the latest styles. Soon after the catalogs were shot in the parks of Kansas City, in the dusty canyons of Santa Fe, then Mexico, Central America, South America, Europe and the Mediterranean, and the United Kingdom. Photo shoots evolved into more sophisticated productions, taking an expanded roster of talented crew further from home.

Annie & Yfke

Our model with Annie (in typical Turkish attire to beat the 100 degree heat) overlooking the bay in Kekova, Turkey.

One of the most memorable locations was one that was completely unplanned. Intending to shoot in Istanbul, our efforts were thwarted by huge crowds that made it a logistical nightmare.  We scrambled to find a new location, and after 5 hours of travel by plane, car, and water taxi, we finally arrived in a mysterious new place under cover of darkness. We photographed our Resort ’08 catalog on the remote island of Kekova, Turkey, where the ancient ruins of a Lycian city rose from the turquoise water.  The villagers of Kaleköy may have been initially surprised by our eclectic entourage of photographers, stylists, models and equipment but they quickly adopted us during our stay and made us feel right at home. We were especially enamored by their menu of eggplant with fresh-picked basil, local fish, yogurt, warm crusty bread and fruit.
See the video from our photo shoot in Turkey.

Mariachis serenading our model in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Mariachis serenading our model in Oaxaca, Mexico.

The lively culture, welcoming people and local cuisine of the various locations are etched in our memories as much as the gorgeous scenery. The fiestas and flavors of Latin America have enriched many of our catalogs, with shoots all over Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Argentina, and of course, Peru.

In the altiplano near Urubamba, Peru.

In the altiplano near Urubamba, Peru.

Cuzco, Peru is the real birthplace of Peruvian Connection, where Annie Hurlbut visited the markets and first encountered sweaters handknit of luxurious alpaca. Every few years we return to Peru for our photo shoot, where the Andes and the ancient Incan walls set the scene for our newest collection.

Quechua women spinning yarn in the village of Chincheros, Peru.

Quechua women spinning yarn in the village of Chincheros, Peru.

In an effort to dodge the Fall hurricane season in much of the southern US and Mexico, we have ventured to the Mediterranean for many of our Spring catalog shoots. The spectacular scenery, old-world charm, sunny clime, and of course the amazing food have put Italy, Greece and the south of France near the top of our list.

Shooting amidst the grandeur of Italian frescoes.

Shooting amidst the grandeur of Italian frescoes.

Tuscan allee

A Tuscan allée of cypress trees, made famous by scenes in Gladiator.

A model poses precariously on the rocky cliffs of Gallipoli.

A model poses precariously on the rocky cliffs of Gallipoli.

For a closer look behind-the-scenes, check out the videos from our photo shoots.

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