Paloma van den Akker found a flash of inspiration in Yucatán. The state’s flora and fauna, vibrant colors and local techniques, the Toloks in front of her home, the flamingos of Celestún, and even the French-style floors of the residences in Centro have a place in the line of women’s accessories and home décor created by Paloma.
“All Yucatán inspires me.”
The project began in 2016 when Paloma van den Akker first visited the villages where she found the artisans who are now part of the groups that bring her creations to life.
What started as a couple of villages evolved into work with five rural communities specializing in different products and techniques. Among them, cross-stitch embroidery, the Xmanicté stitch (which they managed to promote among young artisans in order to preserve it), and the Henequén waist loom.
What is most important to Paloma is maintaining her relationship with artisans and adapting to the techniques and possibilities of the Henequén fiber. Each bag, wallet, and design goes through a unique production process. Items go from one group of artisans to the next until they return to the workshop in Dzibilchaltún to receive their finishing touches. The reason for this is that they use multiple techniques in each product.
One of the brand’s signatures is the cross-stitch embroidery on Henequén fabric, the main material of their products. “It is not easy at all, but this technique was mastered by a group of women and they do it spectacularly well,” says Paloma.
The Paloma Bag is one of the most recent creations that uses this technique. The magic of this design is in the white embroidered dove. You can lift the bag’s flap and continue admiring it, as it is both on the outside view and on the bag itself. Very impressive!
Also available is the Rosas Bag, it is also a shoulder bag that is made to impress with its detailed red and light pink roses. An absolute delight. And let’s not forget Paloma’s most recent creation: the Montejo Bag, inspired by the French-style floors found in Mérida’s Centro. Surely we can expect vibrant stitches in this new model.
In the boutique located on Paseo de Montejo, you can find the new XL Pompon and Vida Totes, mini bags, handmade clutches, decorative baskets and cushions, and custom sandals made by the store’s resident shoemaker. At this moment, the confection of the sandals is by appointment only, but usually, customers can go in, choose a sole, the type of leather, and the design they like best. Then, the shoemaker assembles a personalized pair. How about that? Not only is each product inspired by Yucatán, visiting Paloma van den Akker is an artistic and artisanal experience in itself.
Editorial by Olivia Camarena
Photography by Paloma van den Akker for use in Yucatán Today.
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