Etiqueta Latina was born from the idea taking the value of the authentic Ecuadorian “toquilla” hat and developing it to have the elegance and sensuality of Italian design. The fine craft of the Ecuadorian manufacture that is the basis for these hats is the first step of a process from which we customizs the final product. After researching the most authentic elements of the tradition and history of the ‘Panama’, we interpret these forms with a feminine tone and enrich it with Italian taste and fashion.
We source the finishing materials from the best producers in Tuscany and Sicilian handicrafts. By combining high quality textiles, two traditions communicate, finding similar words in their expressions. The precise manual work and its exquisite competence use precious materials, the variation of authentic classical forms meets eclecticism. The result is an object that retains its traditional Latin soul but expresses a new personality that makes it part of the international fashion scene.
Immediately after the end of the great Inca empire, the traditional manufacture of straw hats remained alive thanks to the interest of the colonizers, leading to a further development of the craft and forms. In 1835, almost the entire province of Cuenca was converted to working with straw and today there are thousands of weavers in this region, the majority of whom are women. Hats are part of their lives, accompany them everywhere. It is not strange to see many women in the street busy in weaving.
The straw come from the ‘toquilla’ (Carludovica Palmata), a type of palm from which the thin fibers are obtained. Weavers measure the caliber, size and color, looking for elasticity and strength, choosing the best straw depending on the model to be realized. Then they begin a long process, from four or five weeks, and up to several months for the rarest models. The technique is handed down through the generations. It is the great skill and expertise of these women that brings these products to such a high point of refinement.
The colossal enterprise of the Panama Canal, which attracted international attention to this part of the world, made the best showcase of the ‘toquilla hat’. The visit of President T. Roosevelt, who was photographed wearing his ‘fino’, increased the worldwide popularity of the hat. That is why the most typical product of Ecuador came to be misnamed the ‘Panama’.
The legend of this hat is associated with elegant and refined style. For centuries, noblemen, prominent politicians and personalities wore their panama with style and satisfaction worthy of a connoisseur, contributing to the reputation of Panama as a special element in the luxury world.
True experts know that all the work is done by hand and that each piece is unique. The high value of this product is universally recognized, so much so that in recent years it has been added to the UNESCO Intangible Heritage of Humanity list. This is perhaps the greatest acknowledgment of this fine craft practice tradition passed on from generation to generation within traditional communities.