Peru Noda:Layout 1

16/07/2010

16:13

Page 34

KNITWEAR

Exotic elegance
Peru Moda 2010 highlighted the breadth of design talent, innovation and quality in the Peruvian knitwear sector, with alpaca used in refreshingly contrasting ways, and several labels seemingly set for international growth. Elizia Volkmann reports from Fortaleza Real Felipe.
In the home of alpaca it is unsurprising that there is a large knitwear industry. Yet while the common image in the west of Peruvian knitwear is still based around the llama herders’ hats with ear flaps, or knits with Incan style images bought by tourists visiting Machu Picchu, a growing number of dynamic knitwear labels, from Incalpaca’s own brand Kuna and Michell’s Sol Alpaca, to emerging designers, are driving a concerted push to change the perception of Peruvian knitwear from being the dodgy tourist jumper, to that of high-quality, elegant garments using innovative design, and made from luxury yarns such as baby alpaca and Royal alpaca. Peru Moda 2010, which took place in Fortaleza Real Felipe, near Lima, on April 28-30, showcasing the best of the Peruvian export supply in apparel, footwear, accessories and jewellery, showed not only that luxury women’s knitwear is the Peruvian strength in fashion, but also that there are cutting-edge knitwear designers here set to establish themselves on the international fashion stage. Knitted accessories were outstanding, with several burgeoning companies showcased, such as Larentia, a brand of Hebras Peru run by Arequipan female entrepreneur Milagros Dias, whose passion for alpaca inspired her to create a company based on hand knitting and specialist yarn techniques. The designs come from Dias but they are interpreted by her collaborator, known simply as Andrea, who as a Quechuan is able to communicate to Quechuan artesans.

‘Sonia Lozada’s collection amazed onlookers in a way that you hope to be amazed at fashion shows’

Harumi Momota’s extravagant dresses were filled with Spanish Baroque excess.

Andrea travels around the Puno and Arequipa regions teaching women the different techniques and patterns, and monitoring quality control. This allows Larentia to create exotic works of art using superfine techniques such as frivolité, a type of lace seen on Conquistadorian lace collars. But Larentia is doing it in silk alpaca, crocheting silver yarn over pearl buttons and creating modern adventurous designs. Still in its first year of business, it was able to show at Peru Moda thanks to the support of PromPeru, the government agency responsible for promoting Peruvian business both in Peru and abroad. PromPeru is administrating the Peruvian arm of the International Trade Centre’s project to support women entrepreneurs around the world. With Milagros Dias’ sons acting as agents in Lima and the US and a daughter in Madrid it won’t be long before Europeans and Americans will be able to buy these garments in Jenny Duarte’s subtle fine knitwear was teamed with boutiques. extravagant blue/black knitted accessories in floral and foliate designs. The star of the runway

34

Twist July/August 2010

Peru Noda:Layout 1

16/07/2010

16:14

Page 35

KNITWEAR

shows was up-and-coming designer Sonia Lozada. Her work stood out as being truly innovative knitwear with a fashion forward look. It is about big ideas, shape, form, and textures, and plays with the idea of colour on knits, blending complex open stitch work that creates volume and form with denser knits with embroidered embellishments. The knits are carefully hand-dyed and often hand-painted. Lozada’s collection was based on a background of natural white alpaca yarn, with two palettes, one of fading melting greys and stones colours, and the other of paint-spattered coffee brown and dusty pinks. The collection could be described as retrofuturistic. Some of the designs echoed Spanish baroque with frivolitéembellished necklines over full-skirted long lacy cardigans belted over knitted trousers pulled in Cropped chunky cable knits by Sumy Kujon provided a Sonia Lozada’s hand-painted, adventurous knitwear was a by leg warmers for a look fresh take on traditional pieces. revelation at Peru Moda. that spoke of worlds breaking apart, and reforming and survival. There were back to the era of the Spanish settlers in Peru who wore elegant knitted dresses in the finest baby alpaca with body lace decorated voluminous dresses and adorned their scribing silhouettes and tiered sleeves, and to the other buildings with scrolling, curvaceous stucco. Momota’s extreme punk abstract forms in big slouchy shapes and palette was in muted blues and deep chocolate browns and large gathered bell sleeves that hang down luxuriously, mustards. Silhouettes varied from the slinky column revelling in the excess of knitted fabric. dresses to tiered rows of extravagant knitting capped off Lozada adorned her work with alpaca fur and feather with crocheted coordinating fascinators. edging, adding to the feeling of something that evokes Jenny Duarte showed an elegant collection including ideas of the post punk dystopian fashions created by knitwear in a grey and black palette, with loose-knit seeVivienne Westwood in her early work and films such as through long cardigans edged with 3D floral collars and Mad Max and Derek Jarman’s Jubilee with layers of fishnet layered ensembles. She combined superfine transparent knitted dresses with elegant grey cardigans in varying open knits over closely framed big coats, layered over textures to give a loose fit sexiness that is enjoyable to wear denser textured garments. Lozada’s collection was surprising, and amazed onlookers in and puts warmth second to casual indulgent style. To lift the ensembles, she styled the clothes with an array of unusual a way that you hope to be amazed at fashion shows. Her accessories including black and royal blue floral collars and singular vision would translate particularly well to Europe, cutesy berets adorned with knitted flowers. Japan and New York. The designs are very wearable, with a Sumy Kujon delighted visitors to the Vogue Ripley runway unique and definitive look that seems likely to establish show with a collection mostly of simple elegant Lozada as an international fashion name. womenswear, but showed some playful humour with her One of the most revered designers on show, probably best known for her range of accessories, was Meche Correa. Along knitted accessories and chunky knitted short bolero style cardigans teamed with knitted wrist warmers. with evening wear and a giant highly embroidered dirndl Claudia Bertolero combined boho knitwear styling with skirt she showed chunky adventurous alpaca knits. Correa is alpaca, mixed with gold lurex thread to give a glamorous a path-beater in Peruvian fashion and a guiding light to the edge to chunky knits and gypsy styled blanket skirts edged younger generation. with long fringing and belted in to give a corseted effect over From Lima came extravagant designs from young a soft, flowing textured garment. designers such as Harumi Momota, who pushes what you Peru Moda illustrated in spectacular style that the country’s can do with alpaca knitwear to the extreme. She sent down knitwear is set for big things. Peru Moda 2011 is already being a collection of baroque knitted dresses and accessories. The keenly awaited. ● dresses were filled with complicated stitches that harked Twist July/August 2010 35

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.