Peru has a strong national identity in its fibres and textiles and the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey, London has a rather fabulous exhibition on which showcases some of these items. The exhibition is rather aptly called Weavers Of The Clouds.
When the Spanish colonised Peru, they brought a general dress code to the style of dressing to the indigenous communities. It incorporated a mix of established traditional of weaving with contemporary methods and new textiles were created. The traditional techniques were valued, but the Spanish textiles offered innovative ideas, along with the introduction of sheep wool and cotton.
The skirts, known as pollers, are highly decorated with embroidery and are bordered with a woven trim.
A full costume consists of many garments, each with its own unique embellishment or decorative motif.
The traditional costumes of Peru show a diverse range of skills and each individual garment can feature a variety of techniques. The style of a garment identifies each community or region and can also indicate a person's marital status, occupation and economic status.
Many of the garments are decorated with these stunning giant metal brooches which also hold garments together.
The exhibition celebrates the diversity of applied arts created in a wide range of materials, encompassing numerous symbols and employing various techniques.
Contemporary Peruvian fashion designers have looked at their own culture for inspiration and the upstairs section of the exhibition shows work from designers who work with indigenous people, using traditional skills.
My favourite piece was this ensemble by Meche Correa who used a wide border along the bottom of the dress using a brightly coloured Andean floral motif.
The dress has been accessorised with a purple and green clutch bag and bright red hat.
This wonderful exhibition closes on 8th September, so not long left to get there and check it out!