The Top 10 Shows from Mexico City Fashion Week

Alejandro Carlin collage.jpg

Each year, Mexico City Fashion Week gets stronger. Most designers are home-grown, and many are currently in the process of establishing or developing a showroom in the Mexican capital. José Alfredo Silva of Trista is remodeling his atelier and client fitting room; Alexia Ulibarri has just launched her own boutique on a tree-lined street in Polanco, a few streets down from Alejandro Carlín’s workshop. As they and others bring their businesses back to Mexico, the city is emerging as its own formidable fashion destination. Here, a roundup of the top shows of Mexico City Fashion Week.

Courtesy of Armando Takeda.

Armando Takeda Creative Director Armando Takeda – an alumnus of Central Saint Martins and the workshops of Alexander McQueen and Bruno Pieters – worked at Dresscamp before returning to Mexico City in 2012 to start his own line. He works mainly in original tweed produced in mills in France and England (the same factories that supply Chanel, Mac Jacobs and Proenza Schouler) with detailing provided by Mexican artisans. This season was inspired by Matthias Heiderich, a Berlin-based photographer who shoots buildings and nature with the same pastel tones and architectural lines characteristic of Mexican villages. The collection was produced with Native Mexican Huichol people who use beaded art for their shamanic ceremonies. “All items are tagged with the pictures and story of the craftsperson that worked on it. The mix of architectonic lines with the fluidity of nature and Huichol figures give a light touch into spring/summer wardrobe,” says Takeda.

Courtesy of Kris Goyri.

Kris Goyri Mexico City-born Kris Goyri’s collections exude a timeless feminine elegance, characterized by lightweight structures crafted predominantly in silk complemented by chiffon, crepe, gold lamé and other diaphanous, liquid fabrics. “We are a luxury designer brand with a prêt-a-couture line. Our clients are typically aged 25 to 45 – empowered women with a resort, jetset lifestyle and a young spirit,” Goyri explains. His spring 2017 collection is inspired by early 1980s Acapulco around the time of the Baby’O club, riffing on the large plants and flowers of a tropical night infused with a psychedelic, disco mood. Clean lines, romantic ruffles, metallic brocade, sand-wash-finish silks and plasticized lamé were signatures on his runway.

Courtesy of Vero Diaz

Vero Diaz Designer Veronica Díaz’s Yucatan peninsula origins – where she got her start in fashion creating personalized gowns for a handful of clients out of a small atelier in Merida – were showcased in her spring 2017 line. The collection was a tribute to strong, independent native women with soft, tropical-print cream and ivory fabrics in billowy, boho silhouettes finished with tiered ruffles, romantic touches of fringe, and bridal lace. “The collection takes the audience back to the jungle, where I was born, surrounded by exotic animals, tropical plants and the majestic insects of the Mayan Maquech culture,” says Díaz.

Courtesy of Alejandro Carlín.

Alejandro Carlín Alejandro Carlín started out designing bespoke pieces in 2001, launched a luxury prêt-a-porter line in 2003, and established his eponymous brand in 2010. Now a veteran of Mexico City Fashion Week, Carlín’s inspiration for his Seicento collection – named for the birth of the Italian Baroque period – came from Mexican actress Maria Felix’s penchant for Baroque furniture. Light volume and late 1970s silhouettes abound. Prints were informed by Spanish-style Talavera tiles adorning the façade of the baroque Palacio de los Azulejos in the city center; sponsor Swarovski provided more than 3,000 crystals for the collection’s white jumpsuits, with buttons made using Swarovski pearls. “We always work with the must luxurious, natural fabrics. The lines and silhouettes of my designs always try to embrace the sensuality and femininity of my clients and there’s also a touch of Mexican history in each story,” says Carlín.

Photo courtesy of Alexia Ulibarri.

Alexia Ulibarri Since launching her brand nine years ago, Ulibarri – a graduate of London College of Fashion and the Istituto Marangoni – has taken her work from an experimental to commercial mindset. “The style is an independent, strong yet feminine woman, a young adult that wishes to look feminine but really trendy – we are all about femininity with a twist,” says Ulibarri. “It’s focused on a masstige market.” For her latest collection, Ulibarri found inspiration in both contemporary fashion and early 19th century style, surrealism and the work of Leonora Carrington. Androgynous vintage-style high-rise pants, trench coats, and oversized vests were mixed with statement leather jackets embellished with exploding stars silks, lamés and knits for texture, depth, and shine. Embroidery and appliqué details hinted at a fantastical realm of possibility – a world filled with unicorns, oversized volcanic blooms and alternate galaxies.

Photo courtesy of Benito Santos.

Benito Santos Benitos Santos is known for dressing Mexican high society – Ximena Navarrete, Jacqueline Bracamontes, Laura Pausini are all fans of his work and Angélica Rivera, the First Lady of Mexico, wore his designers during official tours to China and Spain. (It was rumored that Mrs. Rivera was going to walk in his spring 2017 show, but reportedly canceled last minute.) “All women are my customers, especially those that want to be protagonists and unique, from a woman that walks a red carpet to one who has the spotlight during her wedding day,” says Santos. His spring 2017 Viva Donna! collection was inspired by Seventies disco icon Donna Summer – models walked to “I Feel Love” – realized in metallic fabrics with huge shoulder ruffles, billowing train-like skirts and Barbarella-style marabou feathers adornments.

Photo courtesy of Kaltex by Trista.

Kaltex by Trista After establishing luxury prêt-a-porter brand Trista a decade ago, Trista José Alfredo Silva took a three-year hiatus from the brand, and then began building it again in January 2015, eschewing more conventional PR such as advertising and magazine editorial to focus instead on familiarizing Mexico City’s chic elite with the brand. In May, he invited five socialites to create their own dresses, with his guidance, during an intimate dinner at Trista’s showroom. His strategy worked perfectly, and now Silva’s 15-person team can’t keep up with the orders rolling in. “We don’t make the dresses [our clients] want, we design the dresses for them. We’re working on off-the-rack – we usually have three sizes available – but for now it’s mainly made to measure,” he explains. For spring 2017 he collaborated with Mexican textile manufacturing company Kaltex, but rather than showing designs in keeping with Trista’s DNA of highly textured tulle, gauze and lace fabrics, this show was crafted more in the spirit of new line Trista Homme (ironically, more than 80 percent of which is bought by women who love his loose, structured silhouettes). He used Kaltex’s signature heavy duty cotton, canvas and denim, to striking effect.

Courtesy of Agatha Ruiz de la Prada

Agatha Ruiz de la Prada This beachwear-focused show from Spanish designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada was the loudest of the week, in every way: When the lights went up, the music was a good few notches above that of previous runways, and models dressed in blue-heart-emblazoned bathing caps, neon yellow hearts, and electric pink terrycloth walked while blowing kisses to the crowd, high-fiving each other and the first row. (The fluffiness of one model’s pink fur bikini was only accentuated by her Pomeranian, tucked under her arm.) Key motifs within the riot of color included rainbow stripes, nautical motifs, spaghetti tubing, and hearts.

Courtesy of Lydia Lavín

Lydia Lavín Taking her cues from traditional costume and regional aesthetics, Lydia Lavín’s collections are an anthology of Mexican cultural style, produced in collaboration with local artisans from Mexico’s provinces. For her spring 2017 collection “Lugar de la Plata” (“Place of Silver”) the designer explored the mood of the town of Taxco during its heyday as a popular destination for artisits such as Frida Kahlo, Juan O’Gorman, Diego Rivera, and William Sprawling, from the perspective of a female traveler. Exuding bohemian 1950s style, her pieces were crafted in natural fabrics in white, navy, vibrant pinks, and yellow, and featured pompoms, stripes, and openwork lace and chiffon.

Courtesy of Children of our Town

Children of our Town Designer José Alfredo Silva (creative director of Trista) partnered with his girlfriend Natalia Ferriz to launch Children of our Town in 2014, shown first in New York. Each collection is inspired by one of Mexico City’s neighborhoods, and created with the mindset of clothing the people of the world in Mexican spirit, informed by generational and traditional beliefs. “We take our inspiration from Mexico City but it’s not just for Mexican people – it’s the idea that we are all global children of our town,” Silva says. Best-known for knits, for spring 2017, Silva explored the intricate canals, myriad islands and flower markets of Xochimilco and its 18 barrios through soft colors, oversized stylized floral motifs, and loose silhouettes in heavy-duty fabrics.