Fashionable Peru

It’s funny how you can be so transfixed by somewhere you have never been.

I am spellbound by every image of Peru that I’ve ever seen, and have been since my earliest association with it as the birthplace of Paddington Bear. The dramatic, mesmerising topography; the most mystical wonder of the ‘Seven New Wonders’: Machu Picchu; and most importantly, the mouth-blistering, face-scrunching potency of a well made Pisco Sour, all whirl in the back of my mind like Muybridge’s Horse in Motion, motivating me to find a job and get paid so that I may pack my bags with some friends this coming August and head out there to experience all the above for myself.

But the thing that lures me like a magnet to Peru is its colours. In the words of The Troggs: they make my heart sing. The palette of Peru certainly seems to appeal to fashion editors and photographers too. Unsurprisingly, one of the country’s most famous sons, Mario Testino, has created some of the most startling editorial images marrying breathtaking scenery with electrifying fashion. See below, a Peruvian special for French Vogue in 2013 shot by Testino featuring models Isabeli Fontana and Aymeline Valade.

Travel Writer Kiki Deere documented the length and breadth of the country for the Rough Guide at the end of last year – the image of the dancing lady is a prize-winner no less, drawing acclaim (and a spanking new camera) from the Telegraph. More of her pictures can be seen on her website but I’ve selected a few of my favourites here.

Imagine for a moment that our everyday life in London awash with so much colour. I think it might have been for a brief moment in the mid-80s when Princess Diana probably created a frenzy amongst Sloanes to sport technicolour ‘jerseys’. It must be said that she pulls hers off in the image below with innocent-looking aplomb. Or what about Helena Christensen in another Mario Testino-shot editorial for French Vogue directed by Carine Roitfeld in 1993 called ‘Au Pérou, chez les Incas’ – we may have to concede victory to her in the ‘who wore it best’ competition.

In a narcissistic move, I am entering myself into the ‘Peruvian Jumper Hall of Fame’ with the ‘Maya’ from Mes Demoiselles Paris, a brand that I adore. I bought it about a year ago and it is without a doubt No.1 in my most cherished items of all time. I’m also keen to get my hands on these sneakers from Dutch brand Mipacha, designed in Amsterdam, handmade in Peru (also available from the bounteous Treasure Chest, the in-house boutique at The Experimental Beach Club in Ibiza). And finally on the lust list, these Alpaca plaid throws from Mau Loa.

My last word on all things Peruvian is not, alas, what you might call interesting per se – merely observant. And it is this: why must every fashion shoot have a model holding a lamb or baby alpaca? Evidence below.

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