Fátima Rendas, a distinguished family business specialized in handcrafted renaissance lace, is a top choice for Brazil shopping.
With stores in the Recife, Salvador and São Paulo International Airports, the business is owned and managed by experienced lacemakers who strive to preserve Brazil's heritage in this ancient art. The delicate blouses, linens and other items available at the stores are made in Pesqueira, Pernambuco.
1. Fátima Rendas Fashion
Rows of perfectly ironed clothes rest lightly on hangers in the spotless shops by Fátima Rendas. Some of the items are all renaissance lace; others are graced with subtle details, like gossamer appliques on a baby dress.
Opened in 1977, Fátima Rendas works with several lines: women's and children's fashions, brides, linens - and men's styles, such as loose-fitting shirts with discreet lace borders.
The company exports to Japan, the United States and France.
2. History of Fátima Rendas
The love for renaissance lace and the traditional techniques involved in its making have been handed down to Fátima Xavier Mergulhão, owner of Fátima Rendas, through several generations. Her mother, Marieta Monteiro Xavier, started her in the art at an early age.
Today, Marieta Monteiro supervises the lacemakers in Pesqueira, a city about 50 miles from Caruaru, PE.
Besides generating local jobs, Fátima Rendas also teaches children about the cultural importance and the history of renaissance lace, along with the skills necessary to create increasingly elaborate pieces.
3. Renaissance Lace in Brazil
Renaissance lace was brought to Brazil by European missionary nuns who settled in the cities of Poção e Pesqueira in Pernambuco. The nuns taught local women this art which originated in Venice in the mid-16th century.
A hobby at first, renaissance lace became the main source of income for about 90% of local families.
Renaissance lace is made over a sheet of tracing paper laid on a small pillow. Brazilian names for stitches evoke regional elements such as cocada, a coconut candy
4. Renaissance Lace Show
Every year, in the first three weeks of September, Fátima Rendas hosts a Renaissance Lace Show at Casa da Cultura in Recife.
The exhibit includes vintage pieces from the Xavier Mergulhão family's collection and intricate pieces made specially for the occasion.