A timeless design, the shirts have remained a classic example of high quality, hand-crafted apparel. It was first shown at an art fair in Madrid in 2004, then, as word spread, the conductor Daniel Barenboim bought seven of them. He has worn Baruc shirts for his performances since then. While Baruc was busy with other projects he still managed to produce the shirts and sell them directly from his workshop in the Plaza Mayor de Madrid. His fame grew and even the New York Times published an article about him and his clientele, including Catherine Deneuve.
Based on his vision for the future, Baruc created the philosophy behind the shirt.
‘Fashion is entering a new era; the seasonal system and the need for constant renovation and change will become less relevant. I value quality, truth and loyalty and a product that has been perfected through time. It will follow you all your life if that is what you want. No matter if the shirt has been used over and over again; if it has been worn out from use, you will always be able to get a new one that is exactly the same. Also, the Baruc shirt is never on sale, so if you are a customer, you know that nobody has paid less than you for the same thing. All of us deserve such equality. In order to feel pleasure you have to feel safe, and secure. A good design has to be universal, therefore unisex and ageless. A designer will update the classics by keeping the essence that made them eternal and adapting them to the current society. For Connolly, I redefined the collar detail to be simpler and produced it in this beautiful blue!'
Baruc takes seriously his responsibility for the effect fashion has on the world, both environmentally and socially. This includes using materials which are natural and organic when possible, and manufacturing the items by expert, well trained and well paid workers. Like us at Connolly, he believes this message in these standards are transmitted through the product, its feel, touch and detailing, to the customer.
THE HISTORY OF THE GUAYABERA
A LETTER FROM ISABEL
The guayabera has made it into the wardrobe of celebrities and movie stars including Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall Gary Cooper and Alonzo Mourning. Ernest Hemingway (pictured above) famously wore a guayabera made by Ramon ‘the King of the guayabera’ Puig, who opened his first guayabera store in Cuba in 1943. Known as a legend within the world of the guayabera, Puig gained a reputation for producing high-quality authentic garments which were worn by politicians and presidents. Stating that “you wouldn’t smoke fake Cubans (cigars) so why would you wear a bogus guayabera?”, he advocated true craftsmanship and authenticity when it came constructing the iconic shirt.
The guayabera is certainly distinct, with its unmistakeable pleats (also referred to as alforzas, pintucks or tuxes) which run along the front and back of the shirt, it is a highly decorative garment. Traditionally, they’re seen with two pleats on the front and three on the reverse.'
The origins of the guayabera are hotly contested with no tale telling the same story,' says Will Varnam. 'What seems to be agreed upon is that a few hundred years ago, a farmer’s wife took a needle and thread to her husband’s work shirt and added four large pockets to the front. This enabled her husband to easily pick and carry guayabas (guavas) when he was out in the field. This practical modification gave the shirt its commonly known moniker. However, past that, everything gets a little murky with a dozen Hispanic nations laying claims to the invention of the guayabera.
A story which ties the origins of the shirt to Cuba, is that of Spanish immigrants José Pérez Rodríguez and his wife, Encarnación Núñez García. They settled near the Yayabo River in Sancti Spiritus, and it’s said that Jose asked his wife to make him a shirt with longer sleeves and four pockets (to store his cigars and belongings while he worked). From there, because of the ease of construction and practical nature of the shirt, it quickly became a popular garment in the region. The shirt is also known as the camisa de Yucatán or Yucatán Shirt which aligns to a clearer line of evidence that the shirt originated from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, with guayaberas being the traditional everyday men’s shirts in Yucatán since the mid-19th century, before they were replaced by western shirts in the early 20th century.'
Read more about the history of the shirt.