Just as its name suggests, Retrovi (meaning ‘rediscover’ in the Esperanto language) experiments with the traditional designs of Lefkaritiko lace and Fythkiotiko weaving, introducing new applications, while always respecting craft and tradition. Through this innovative project, which marries Cyprus heritage with fashion, Retrovi aims to reveal the beauty and uniqueness of Cypriot tradition using the exceptional art of Lefkaritiko and Fythkiotiko to create fashionable items for women. The great importance of this embroidery as Cyprus's cultural heritage simply has to be displayed. For this reason, Retrovi ensures the continuation of this tradition, putting forward the freshest ideas with brand new applications of this exquisite craftwork. For years, Retrovi had been exploring the best way to bring together Cyprus past and Cyprus present, until the idea of the handcrafted bags was born, turning Cyprus’ prominent embroidery into contemporary fashion.
All Retrovi pieces are handmade, some of them embroidered with fine needlework and some of them entirely woven on the loom. Only the best materials are used to provide the highest degree of quality, and the beauty and uniqueness of each creation could not be better represented than by royal names in Cyprus history. The renowned queens of Cyprus who gave their name to Retrovi bags, are Berengaria of Navarre, Alice of Champagne, Isabella of Ibelin, Eleonora of Aragon, Helena Palaiologina, Charlotte, and Caterina Cornaro. The summer collection featuring crochet items showcases the island’s never-ending sunny mood, and is naturally named after the queen of love and beauty, Aphrodite. Heritage can never be forgotten and the modern woman points the way on how to revive tradition and rediscover our history.
Lefkaritiko lace is handmade needlework; it is basically a cut-and-drawn type of embroidery with a rare variety of patterns and variations worked in satin stitch. Most motifs are geometric, with a few taken from plant life, such as “the daisy”, “the leaf” and the “palm tree”, but the basic motif is a zig-zag design which represents “the river”. Unique mastery of the craft is passed down from generation to generation and each talented lace-maker uses her own rich imagination to create original patterns, designing work that embodies both tradition and her own personality. Since the late 19th century, this craft became a professional occupation of both the women of Lefkara who embroider, and the men who toured the main towns in surrounding countries, travelling from Greece to near Europe, and then to Scandinavian countries and America, selling their beautiful wares and taking orders to be fulfilled by the women back home. Hence, the fame of lefkaritiko lace was spread far and wide.
Fythkiotika Woven Patterns
Weaving has flourished in Cyprus since ancient times while reference to the Cypriot weavers is made in historical sources as early as the 6th century B.C. Nonetheless, weaving’s golden age in Cyprus was during the Middle Ages, and more specifically, during the Lusignan period (1192-1489). One of the reasons weaving was so greatly developed in Cyprus throughout the centuries, was the excellent quality of raw materials produced locally. Processing cotton, spinning it and weaving it was one of the main occupations of Cypriot women. Even though the art was developed in other areas of the island as well, it was the prime specialty of women in the remote Paphos district, especially in Fyti village, and for that reason, these weavings are known as Fythkiotika.
Image Courtesy of Rertovi
KUL-T Boutique Nicosia & Limassol
ANASSA Polis Chrysochou
AMANZOE Porto Heli
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