Years ago, back in the mid 80s, I regularly received the Peruvian Connection catalogue and its colourful and complex ethnic designs looked deliciously different from all those power suits and massive shoulders we were wearing. I loved it. Mail order from the US, where mother and daughter founders Biddy and Annie Hurlbut were based, was a bit pricy back then, but I hankered after a Peruvian patterned alpaca coat all the same.
Last week I met Annie and saw the clothes up close for the first time. The brand, artisan apparel for nomads and romantics according to the website, is the best place to find posh, patterned alpaca knits and Peruvian Pima cotton. Annie describes the collection as “Distinctive, for a customer who wants to express herself through unique clothes, but subtly”.
The Kings Road store is terrific, full of beautiful Peruvian jewellery, woven and embroidered leather bags and belts, original Peruvian patterned scarves as well as the clothes collections, all distinctive and different enough from what’s on the rest of the high street to pique your interest. Even more so if you’re a bit over the clean, paired back look of late and remember, Jane has told us is all about maximalism now. My favourite items included the Nordique pullover, the comfort-blanket Nuvuk coat and the Calanque sweater coat.
Also, BIG NEWS, I learned the high grade Peruvian alpaca used the knitwear is actually resistant to moths.
Annie explained that alpaca tends to be a stronger fibre, so tougher to eat, and yarn expert and Selvedge magazine founder Polly Leonard, confirmed for me that it is definitely more resistant because Alpaca does not contain lanolin, the oily fat on wool and cashmere that attracts the moth in the first place. Polly also explained this lack of lanolin makes alpaca easier to wear than wool, it isn’t as itchy against your skin. I have bought the simple Islington Alpaca Tunic Dress, to wear over my boyfriend jeans as the weather gets cooler, it is lovely and I’ll keep you posted on whether it gets eaten.
While we are on Peruvian fabrics, I need to tell you how fabulous the Pima cotton is. Grown in Peru, Pima cotton is a long staple fibre that is high quality and soft, Peruvian Connection make a range of simple T shirts and vests in the fibre that are now best sellers. I can vouch for the softness and if you find wool too hot to wear, consider the Bennington sweaters or the patterned kimono. I also bought the nightdress and it is divine against your skin, may even help you sleep…
The range is not cheap, the best selling baby alpaca Charlotte sweater is £145, but it is excellent quality and comes in generous sizes, up to size 22 in some designs. Channel your inner maximalist and check out the website here