Over several months I have been restoring some beautiful Guatemalan Huipils. I fell in love with them last year when over in California sourcing the Winter collection and knew I just had to bring them back with me. I have written about them before and mentioned I was going to work towards bringing them back to their former glory!
To do this justice, I have asked for the help of Rachel Freire, whose skills are off the charts and is someone I respect very much. It's been a long process as I can only spend a relatively small amount of time each week on them.
I have so much respect for these pieces of cultural history that I have really got into the process and have found myself spending hours longer that I thought I would getting the finish just right. I want them to last another 50-60 years!
The embroidery on these garments is amazing and all so different! Different villages and regions would have totally different styles so they are all so diverse! In this collection I had a beautiful roses huipil, one with parrots, one with birds but a more geometric style and one with man and birds. A couple of them where ready to go as they were, but 2 of them (from the 50s and 60s) needed a new trim.
One of the huipils in particular had an extremely small neck. A lovely client of mine wanted it (she is very petite too!) but it was just too small around then neck. This was going to be a bit of a job as there was a bit of embroidery around the neck (separate to the main body of the embroidery, just a few rows of stitching really). Also, the strip of velvet trim around the neck and onto the shoulder clasp had deteriorated. This had to all be removed and replaced. Working carefully to ensure removal would not damage or affect any of the other intricate weave, this was rather time consuming and nerve wracking!
We have replaced the velvet trim with suede backed leather and put a new stud in there. It looks awesome! Ready for another 50 years! My client is now very happy with the new neck size and I am going to repeat the process in the rose patterned one. The other 2 sold a while back so I will be getting some more when I am stateside as I'm just in love with Guatemalan Huipils! (and I think London is to!)