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Fashion
September 12, 2017

Talking Ikat With Philippines’ Lucia Catanes

Text by Sharmi Ghosh Dastidar

“In our home country, the weavers take inspiration from the surrounding environment and the motifs and patterns are derived from the flora and fauna around”

Having run a successful catering business until a few years ago, Lucia Catanes never thought she would be one of the main participants in ikat symposiums all over the world. It was, in fact, her mother Narda Capuyan who was famous for reviving the Cordilleran ikat tradition. She started an eponymous label in 1970 in La Trinidad, Benguet in Philippines and became famous for her painstaking work in the field of ikat, that came by after much experimentation. “My mother revived the lost Cordilleran art by designing and dyeing threads in vibrant colours to suit modern tastes. After she passed away, her friends beseeched me to get into the business so that the beautiful tradition wouldn’t be relegated to the pages of history again,” recalls Catanes.

Though she did not take to the loom initially, Catanes was well-versed with the art and mechanism behind it. She grew up watching her mother and on many occasions, was forced to assist her. “In our home country, the weavers take inspiration from the surrounding environment and the motifs and patterns are derived from the flora and fauna around. I started studying these and delved into the technique. I followed my mother’s design ideology and picked up from where she had left off,” explains the designer.

Using natural dyes and the exquisite ikat weaves of the Cordilleran region, Catanes creates smart and sharp clothes that have attained popularity amongst the fashion-forward audience in her country. Stoles, shirts, coats, jackets, shrugs, dresses and even funky bags are created at Narda’s. The colours are bright and the motifs are simple yet brilliant. Perfect picks for the sassy textile lover of today.

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