Cecília Meireles, Poems Written in India, 1961
This strong, full of colour, exotic, iconic, and magic Collection is the JEF’s surprising proposal for the Spring/Summer 2021 season, inspired by the natural and human landscape of Goa, the former Portuguese State of India.
Goa offers us the chimerical vision of the Paradise, the Terrestrial Eden, where we can find palm trees, tropical beaches, birds, and Gods all together. Please come on board with JEF on this real and dreamed journey, towards the farthest and most exotic destination of Lusophony.
ÉDEN is the name of this Collection, which is itself a journey made of powerful impressions, spiritual symbols, and remnants of the Indo-Portuguese cultural and material heritage.
The ÉDEN Collection offers us the multiple faces of the beauty of Goa, the vastness of the golden sandy beaches, the liquid serenity of the countless water mirrors, the mystery of the jungle, the Hinduism’s sacred rituals, the scent of the incense and spices, the colours of the small houses and traditional markets, the greatness of the churches, an open window toward the horizon, a melody played on a sitar, a sari waving under the breeze.
This diversity of atmospheres and landscapes, where sea, rivers, lagoons, and lush rainforests combine, brought to the ÉDEN Collection several nuances of greens and blues that contrast with hot colours, such as orange, brown, and beige, evoking spices, the earthly ochre tones, and the garments of Hindu monks, which have golden shades, between the yellow and the saffron, considered sacred by the Hinduism.
The journey to India, inherent to this Collection, is, in the Western imagery, the great epic, the overcoming of many storms and hazards. Nowadays, it appears as a spiritual, transformative journey that drives our inner metamorphosis.
Goa was for centuries the main connecting gateway between the West and the East, being the major trading harbour of the region that coordinated the spice routes. Travelling through the roads of Goa cities, from Margão to Panjim, through Vasco da Gama and Velha Goa (Old Goa), we come across architectural relics of the Indo-Portuguese style, which inspired the geometry of the shapes exhibited by the Collection, as well as in the particulars and details of the articles.
Located in the centre of Panjim, currently the largest city of Goa, the typical quarter of Fontainhas retains features clearly influenced by the Portuguese: the narrow streets and lanes, the alleys and staircases, the plates with street names that, like the local trade, bear names that preserve the Lusophone identity, such as Hotel República or Casa Lusitana. In this colourful hamlet, the traditional blue and white mosaics covering most facades, the columns and arches, and the windows stand out, being an icon of the construction innovations. The Hindus’ ancient houses of Goa had no balconies or windows facing outwards, innovations introduced by the model of the French window of the “casas de sobrado” (or townhouses).
The ÉDEN Collection mirrors this variety of urban and natural landscapes, cultural heritages, and mystical perceptions that build the intriguing diversity of Goa. Robust in its colours, symbols, and influences, this Collection carries us from the astonishing discovery of a Hindu temple to the silence of a church, from the blue tranquillity of a tropical beach to the immersion into the jungle, from the traditional neighbourhoods to the street markets, where the women vendors of fruits, vegetables, and fish seat side by side.
The embossing that lines the inside of the articles shows elements that take us back to these vibrant, full of life environments and key symbols of the culture of India. From the outdoor markets we get the sweet freshness of the pineapple. The elephant, considered the "holder of the world", imposes itself by its symbolic force. In India, it is worshiped as a sacred animal, and people believe that the universe lies on its back. The elephant also symbolizes patience, wisdom, longevity, prosperity, power, and benevolence. The lotus flower, the core spiritual symbol in India, imprints on the articles of the ÉDEN Collection its beauty and sense of purity and revival. Growing in muddy waters, it inspires a path of purification and transcendence. In Asian religions, most deities are depicted sitting on a lotus flower while meditating. The picture of the tropical paradise of the beaches of Goa is represented by the palm trees and the traditional small boats.
In the ÉDEN Collection, embroideries are a distinct and recurrent technique that provides a bridge between the icons of the Indian and the Portuguese culture, as they have a historic rooting and strong tradition in a number of regions of Portugal. The compass rose and the intertwined nautical cables are represented, symbolising the intercultural union of the Lusophone peoples and a sense of good omen for the journey towards the future.