Named after the legendary skeleton of an elegant woman seen throughout Day of the Dead iconography, the National Museum of Mexican Art’s first annual La Catrina Fashion Show showcases designs from some of the most talented fashion designers in the city. The event, inspired by Frida Kahlo and Dia de los Muertos, features emerging local designers, including Horacio Nieto, Elda de la Rosa and Gary Gonzalez.
Elda, who studied fashion at the School of the Art Institute, is well known in the bridal circuit for her elegant custom designs. She describes her clothing line as “very feminine, celebrating a woman’s body,” whether that design is an open-back gown or a cocktail dress. Since her first fashion show in 2004, Elda has woven the strong elements of seasonality and beautiful textiles into her work. Her pieces are worn by several local media clients, including Candace Jordan, Sylvia Perry and Dusty Stemer.
Another featured designer, Horacio Nieto, will present his spring/summer 2012 womenswear collection, called “Capturing Frida.” The collection is heavily informed by the colorful folkloric costumes of Mexico. A former dancer, Horacio’s inspiration has always been to emphasize Mexican culture and folkloric fashion. “I learned about the dances and their meanings behind them,” Horacio says. “So I wanted a collection that was wearable and had the essence of folklore.” His pieces—many of them fitted, curve-hugging dresses—combine the elements of strength, fluidity and sex appeal. But guys, don’t despair: Horacio also has a fashion line for men called Arlo Menswear, in which he incorporates a sense of structure, confidence and masculinity in his pieces. “It is a line for the man who wants to stand out and make a statement,” he says. Horacio, who moved to Chicago in 2000, now dresses people such as Mexican actress Ana de la Reguera and Argentine journalist/model Candela Ferro. Despite his success, Horacio never forgets where he came from, finding strength and inspiration in his roots. “I was a small Asian-looking Mexican kid from south Texas with a dream,” he says. “It has been a journey to get to this point, and it will be a bigger journey to get where I would like to be. But you should never forget where you came from no matter what type of success you have or have had.”