Peruvian fashion designer Chiara
An air of positive energy charged the atelier and showroom of Peruvian fashion designer Chiara Macchiavello, as we entered for a private tour with the designer. A few weeks ago, the Aracari met with Chiara and learn about her beautiful hand-made fashion garments, made using the finest Peruvian textiles. Her atelier, Escudo, is located in the bohemian district of Lima, Barranco. Aracari arranges private visits to Escudo along with other popular fashion houses, shops, galleries and boutiques on any tailormade visit to Lima.
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Casa Machiavello Fasion House
Casa Machiavello, the first fashion house of its kind in Lima, occupies the second floor of a restored house tucked on an unassuming street in the art district, Barranco, just across the road from the Museum of Contemporary Art. Climbing a white, wooden staircase brought us to the ESCUDO showroom, also painted white, with large windows that flooded the space with cool light.
Chiara greeted us with a smile and guided us through the showroom and workshop. Currently showcasing her third season of work, her designs have been praised by some of the best, including renowned photographer and fellow Peruvian Mario Testino.
Peruvian Influenced Designs
Chiara explained to us that she is highly influenced by popular and folk art and incorporates these elements into her designs. Part of the actual workshop space of the atelier is even housed in the cargo trailer of a up-cycled truck, ubiquitous throughout Peru with their painted personal symbols and mottos of the drivers.
One of her first collections showcased hand-painted jackets, styled after the famous fluorescent “Chicha” concert posters made famous by the popular artist Elliot Tupac. Throughout the atelier we spotted brilliantly colored masks and costume pieces from traditional festivals held in the provinces of Peru, resting on shelves and tables and hanging on the walls.
Her more recent collections likewise manifest Chiara’s dedication to incorporating elements of traditional folk culture into her modern fashion design. The collections marry the long-celebrated, traditional weaving and embroidery techniques of the Andes with the contemporary cuts and edgy innovations of modern haute couture that can be seen on runways of fashion-forward cities like Paris, London, and Milan.
“Devoted to Design, Committed to Heritage”
Printed on the tag of every piece is the ESCUDO motto, “Devoted to design, Committed to Heritage”. Trendy knit caplets are adorned with Peruvian coins, t-shirts made with 100% Peruvian Pima cotton are screen printed with lines from the signature pattern of the Shipibo peoples of the Amazon and smartly cut mini-dresses are embellished with impeccably arranged, monochromatic pompoms made from alpaca fur. Colorful silky tops interspersed among the showroom racks bore the ESCUDO emblem, cross-like in appearance with a rounded outline that makes it look like a crest—which is of course, the point.
“Clothing acts like our armor, our shield, that protects us against the elements,” she told us when we asked about the brand name, which translates as both “shield” and “crest”, or “Coat of Arms”, in English. She continued that crests were once (and still are) used to identify aristocratic families, royalty, nations, and in this sense, clothing does the same, it outwardly represents our identities.
Beyond representing individual identity, Chiara’s collection draws heavily on aspects of Peruvian identity, its rich and varied cultural heritage, which is being revitalized across the country. The succinct brand vision, also featured on the ESCUDO tag, reads, “One history, one people, one sentiment, one identity”. As the designer described to us, the clothing itself has a history, the process that brings a piece from the original concept to the physical garment, which involves much more than we might imagine when we see it on a rack or in a shop window.
The ESCUDO Collection
The pieces in the collections are, simply stated, spectacular and best appreciated up-close –the immaculate seams, the special details like screen printed, silk lining of the blazers, the vest fringe that extends the colorful lines from the knit bodice. The clothing is striking, undeniably unique but at the same time, utile and entirely wearable.
In ESCUDO aesthetics and functionality are harmoniously interlaced. Perusing the showroom racks, my senses were overwhelmed by the earthy scent of the materials, the subtle, and at times bold, interplay of colors and the glimmer of silver coins, thread and pearlescent beading. I relished the sensation of running my fingers along a sleeve of hand-woven baby alpaca, soft like cashmere.
For Aracari’s clients, Chiara is delighted to welcome visitors to her atelier and in the meantime, you can peruse the ESCUDO webpage.
If you are interested in visiting the Casa Macchiavello on a private, tailormade trip to Peru, contact us today. We can also introduce visitors to Lima to artists, ceramicists, museum curators and gallery owners.