When these rugs began being replaced by quilts, clothing and other products, Mizette saw an opportunity to continue the work that had already been done. A new chapter started and the colourful rugs began decorating the floors and walls of many houses in the region and, later, a number of large hotels. The relationship with the hospitality industry expanded and became a key market. This, in turn, led to new orders and creations, such as pouffes and pillows for Esporão, the L’and Vineyards resort and the São Lourenço do Barrocal hotel, among others.
With the visibility that the hotel industry provided, individual orders were boosted, and the Alentejo’s journey to other parts of the globe soon followed. It continues today, but essentially began when Mizette was contacted by the famous Japanese designer, Kenzo Takada, who fell in love with the colours, patterns, and particularly the art of how the Alentejo rugs are made. Kenzo soon came to Portugal to visit the factory, meeting Mizette and seeing all her work. From that moment on, the phone never stopped ringing with orders for fashion shows, exhibitions and hotels in Japan. Visits became a regular thing and the rugs decorated many different places. Then came Senegal, the United States, Switzerland and many others which, for professional or personal reasons, brought Reguengos de Monsaraz and the Alentejo closer to the rest of the world.
Currently making waistcoats for an Indian producer, Mizette says: “Doing this is great. It’s interesting to take something so old, with so much history and tradition and create something new, modern, which can reach completely different people.” Another example is the reconstruction of the Casa Mãe Hotel in Lagos, which the factory is working with, producing blankets and rugs in shades of blue, green and white, “in true Algarve tones.”
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Mantas em tons de azul e branco
Despite having found new places outside the Alentejo, this tradition remains very connected to the region’s history and personality, where the rugs remain an integral part of its heritage and projects, like the new design of the Capota Alentejana overcoat or its use on saddles, reviving an almost forgotten memory.
Offering different possibilities, new designs, creations and ranges, always made with Portuguese wool from merino sheep, this memory transports us to the present, while never forgetting the past. This is the new and different life of Alentejo rugs. Tradition and innovation combined, something we pay tribute to on the Monte Velho 2015 label.