No.66 is a ‘limited editiion’ kaftan as it takes two months to make. A true collectors item, the process is expalined here in deatil by artisan Yuridia who created the piece. “Only very skilled artisans are able to weave this kaftan. The necklines represent the spine of a snake that appears after the rain. The sacred snake represents the rainbow therefore the spine is a rainbow forming the shoulders of the kaftan. No.66 is made with finer thread then other kaftans, so the artisans need to weave with more strength to give the kaftan the thick structure and durableability. Each weaver measures out the number of warp threads needed. In this fine striped kaftan the lines they need to count from two to two the threads to make the finest lines; they intercalculate the white and the purple thread until they make 295 pairs of threads. Typically a regular kaftan has the lines 8 threads wide. The motifs are placed in the neckline of the kaftan with no space between them, therefore just very dedicated weavers are able to weave kaftan No.66”. Just a handful of No.66s are available.
The Pippa Holt Kaftan label is a celebration of Holt’s love of indigenous textiles, bold colours and far-flung travel. Collaborating with a group of artisans in a remote part of Mexico (Felipa, head weaver has been weaving for more than 50 years), together they have created a range of bold, colourful and stylish kaftans that exude an understated luxury and work as well in the city as they do on the beach. It takes one month to make each unique kaftan and, due to the way they are hand-crafted, no two are the same. Naturally dyed cotton thread is woven into cloth using a backstrap loom, an ancient weaving technique that has been used by generations in this community. Located in a remote village in the middle of nowhere. The colours of the threads are dyed from natural processes using vegetables and flowers. Marigold flowers for example are responsible for the yellow threads in the kaftans. Before dyeing begins, the plants, earth, minerals and insects that the dyes are made from must be collected. These ingredients are gathered in the mountains above the village, grown in home gardens and also sometimes grown by neighbours who specialise in one element. Cotton threads are added to a vat of boiling water and how long they are left in is determined by the intensity of the colour that is required.