Fashion

Mexican Folk, Fiesta and Frida

Hola! Last week I was in one of the most vibrant and diverse countries in the world: Mexico. I flew there just a couple of days after speaking at the Forests for Fashion conference in Geneva, which got a lovely mention on VOGUE.it. While my visit was mainly for work, I sneaked in a couple of cultural experiences that this nation has plenty on offer. And I made sure to check out Mexican fashion, of course!

Bold Mexican-inspired fashion by NYC designer Mara Hoffman who takes inspiration from our planet's natural and cultural diversity. Photo via trendhunter.com

Bold Mexican-vibe fashion by NYC designer Mara Hoffman who takes inspiration from our planet’s natural and cultural diversity. Photo via trendhunter.com

Whenever I travel to the tropics I find myself veering towards folk style – something that I eschew on regular office days. This time I allowed myself to explore the Mexican ‘fiesta’ trend, which is so in this spring. Folk outfits with indigenous influences were also the signature style of another Mexican icon – painter and feminist Frida Kahlo.

While I am not a fan of Frida’s famous unibrow, I am in love with her statement fashions. In fact, as I found out while dining out at Casa Rivero in Cuernavaca, Frida first adopted her Tehuana look of tiered skirts and elaborate headdresses to please her husband, muralist and revolutionary Diego Rivera, but soon discovered that it gave her an air of mystery – especially as they traveled together across the United States.

A selection of native Tehuana looks on view at the Museo Frida Kahlo exhibition. Photo by Miguel Tovar via Blouin Artinfo.

A selection of native Tehuana looks on view at the Museo Frida Kahlo exhibition. Photo by Miguel Tovar via Blouin Artinfo.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to visit the Museo Frida Kahlo in Mexico City, which currently hosts an exhibition titled “Appearances Can Be Deceiving: The Dresses of Frida Kahlo”.  However, those wishing to nail that Frida look can check out Frida Revolutionary Fashions website which features artisanal creations from dresses to jewelry to tote bags.

I personally couldn’t resist a ‘Made in Mexico’ white linen maxi dress with a delicate embroidery detail at the hem and cinched at the waist by a wide brown cow leather belt. It would be great worn with platform sandals and a couple of ethnic accessories to complete the look. Linen, as you know, is one of the most eco-friendly natural fibers and it keeps you fresh and cool on hot days.

Another unexpected great find was the Colombian-born mother-and-daughter designer team operating from their Mexico City base under the brand Pepa Pombo. Their Jackie Onassis-inspired looks and luxurious knits made in Mexico from a range of materials including bamboo absolutely won me over as I was browsing Benito Juarez International Airport boutiques.

Diva Retro collection by Colombian-Mexican brand Pepa Pombo.

Diva Retro collection by Colombian-Mexican brand Pepa Pombo.

While sustainable fashion is not yet well known in the country, Mexico has recently hosted its first sustainable fashion conference for young designers. So let’s hope that the trend catches on.

Hasta la vista, Mexico, I will be sure to return for more fiestas, flair and fashion!

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