This past summer, I spent time in the Azores, Portugal, where my family is from. While there, I learned about the traditional Azorean wool cape worn by women in the 19th century to protect from bad weather.
I considered the way that capes act as both protective garments and as ways to hide the body. I wanted to modernize the Azorean cape while holding true to these tenets. I designed, draped and constructed this cape using a navy blue cashmere-wool blend and leather binding. I offset-turned the walnut buttons on the lathe.
This was an exploration in producing functional, wearable, long-lasting work with natural materials. As an Azorean-American, this cape acts as a tribute to my family heritage and an exploration of the way apparel can respond to the female form.
Photos: Kevin Chen
AZOREAN CAPE, FOR TODAY
Traditional wool cape worn by women in the Azores in the 19th century.
Source: New Bedford Whaling Museum, ModeMuseum Provincie Antwerpen (MoMu)