In the multicultural, multi-ethnic society – which I happen to be part of as well – being ethnic can sometimes be an advantage.
Stererotypes are often simply easy to mix and very quickly applied.
I had the fortune to grow-up with a large group of females with an established tradition in fashion and style. My mother used to take me and my sister to the historic center of our city to visit museums, galleries and libraries during our spring and summer breaks or during our end-of-the-year vacations. Ironically, the same historic downtown area in Bogota is very close to the garment area.
She always managed somehow to stop by the fancy stores in which new cuts, gorgeous prints and brimming rolls of fabrics in the latest prints from Europe, and other exotic places were stacked secretly away. Coincidentally, her seamstress and her favorite tailor happened to be just down the street – so every cultural trip developed into a capacity “Design on a Dime” experience. Usually, our visits were planned around two or three weeks prior a family or local celebration, an outing, a social gathering or a public appearance. We were instructed, educated, and fashionably attired, presumably to go and see all the new fabrics and the waiting new designs.
The visits always grew into a frenzy of visits store-to-store-to-store looking for the perfect fabric, latest accessories, unique buttons and zippers, or for the thousands of sequins and other decorative elements to somehow mock-up what was seen in the magazines recently brought in from Europe. That was where I learned the word “Catalog”.
From those catalogs which my mother and sister devoured season after season at the local seamstress and tailor shops as well as from all the books they had, they selected their primary sources and targets for their new garments for their own styles as ‘the latin girl’.
That latin girl with which I am so familiar, from the catalogs and in real life, is a woman full of style, with incredible looks, secure in her mix of patterns, is able to blend or diffuse looks, and takes charge to create a new persona everytime she leaves her house. She feels confident in how to face the world.
That girl is one that uses pants and slacks to accent her curves and her figure. Or same girl looks elegantly simple in a flowery dress. Or she combines a simple shirt or tank from her day-to-day look, and is able to fuse it with a hint of shimmer for the night. She is one that is not shy about wearing overisized jewels or accents to pair with and match the garment. And she is one who thinks that the word ‘whimsical’ is simply a state of mind.
Those very heavy books of dreams were filled with gorgeous Italian/French/Spanish women (read as Latinas) posing in one-of-a-kind gorgeous garments, produced by the established design houses the other side of the ocean, and my mother and sister would drool on them, picking their favorites and then trying to find out if the material was available – locally or elsewhere. One thing in common in those designs were the constant appearance of trousers, which seemed to almost be like a uniform for European ladies-in-the-know, and that was quite a departure for the Colombian locals, as everyone had the typical flowing dresses of the region.
The trousers used by the Italian actresses came in several cuts, tight to the body as riding pants, open to the bottom in soft bell bottoms or even as the currently popular skinny pants. The constant in all of these was always a subtle pattern, a large pattern or the constrast of a simple sheer. There were no shapeless pants, and they were always different in cut and flow to male trousers. The best part? The women combined them with a variety of looks in a multiple, multiple ways.
As I was compiling these final pictures, all of the memories of our trips came back to me of the women in my close family and many of those fashionable girls that I grew up with – who all thought and still think that fashion is not a matter of garments and labels, trends or what is in vogue – those latin girls believe that fashion is a matter of style!
My family, my mother, my sister, my aunt all reminded me of the latin girl next door, the one I always remembered by her looks, which was also an easy way to remember who she is.
And who this girl is, this amazing model showcased in this segment, is Ms. Rita Vazquez. Ms. Vazquez is the image of the LATINO FASHION LIVE 2013 runway show and fundraiser. The event is produced by my dear friend Ms. Diana Prieto-Bernal, who is the president of IDEAZ MEDIA. The event is one not to be missed.
Here is the flyer for the audition (I’m honored to be a guest judge) and since we don’t see these stylish women as often anymore – I hope to see you there – to see the stunning and stylish LATIN GIRLS NEXT DOOR.
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