The designer Pablo Bailón, a native of La Pila, canton Montecristi, presents this fine traditional material as the ideal element for a beautiful and creative wedding gift. The straw shawl, an element that is used in the manufacture of fine hats that originate in Montecristi (Manabi) and that from ancestral times its fabric is part of creations of different accessories, now fits into the world of international haute couture.
The Ecuadorian designer Pablo Bailón, based in New York (United States) 10 years ago, has considered the straw toquilla fabric adding it to his new collection of wedding dresses, for winter 2019, which he calls “Toquilla”.
Pablo’s love stories inspire him to create these magical and unforgettable dresses. The new line for brides radiates confidence, total glamor and impeccable style. “Each cut, each touch and, especially, the toquilla fabric will make a garment that will be used more than once, because the bride will tell memories of their events and will pass it for generations.” To add value to straw to put it in these designs is the challenge of Pablo. “We are going to reinvent the fabric, with this a new form of economy is born with the straw shawl, we go further, we are going to make art with haute couture”.
He details that this dress incorporates an intricate fabric of this fine material combined with lace, beading with precious stones and crystals along natural side fabrics and silk, a unique design for a wedding garment.
These fibers will be applied to the dresses because they went through drying and ironing tests and never changed their original shape, as it does with fine toquilla hats. Pablo, a very relaxed, meticulous and humble man, is a native of the rural parish of La Pila in the Montecristi canton.
A graduate of FIT NY (The Fashion Institute and Technology), he has worked in international houses such as Amsale, Manale, Aberra and Bonaparte NY and now has his own brand “Pablo Bailón Couture”. His love for the land that saw him born led him to define the next opening of a workshop in La Pila, where he will employ three weavers specializing in fine fabrics for designs of wedding dresses.
The Montecristense intends to innovate so that artisans in the area give other products as his ancestors did with the fabric.
Joselías Sánchez, historian and researcher from Manabi, expresses his excitement when expressing himself on this topic of toquilla straw. His words flow to emphasize that this art is evident from the pre-Columbian era.
At that time a practically commercial barter was practiced, they exchanged luxurious articles and among them the ones made with toquilla straw. He says that the Spaniards who supplied themselves with provisions on the Manabitas coasts knew Indians who wore on their heads a type of cap made of fine cloth. The product caught their attention.
The historian clarifies that the fine fabric is intangible heritage by the transmission from generation to generation since before the Spaniards arrived, but that was known through the making of hats, which was the way to make this art commercial. Even Joselias in the time he researched the fabric, found that this was previously taught in the Manabite schools. “Dr. Maruja Cedeño de Delgado, former director of the now Manta Educational Unit, told me that in her school they taught her how to weave the straw shawl and that after the use of thread took force, they changed the straw for embroidery.”
In Ciudad Alfaro, tourist and cultural site of Montecristi, there are samples of others made of toquilla fabric, including toys, such as dolls and rattles, says the historian Sánchez. “My mother, Cruz María Ramos, also a weaver, sewed several things with straw toquilla, such as necklaces, breastplates, singles to cover the glasses and caps,” recalls Sánchez, who compiled these data to include them in the research on straw weaving toquilla. (I)