Photos by Jacinto Ariza
Yesterday was the second day of the fabulous, much anticipated evening of Latino Fashion Week (LFW), which took place at Macy’s, located at 111 N. State St., on the fourth floor near the dress department. It was a day of celebrating Hispanic heritage month, shopping and a tribute event for musician and designer brand name Carlos by Carlos Santana. His new collection of shoes and handbags were unveiled and modeled on a sleek white runway by four models. The night was hosted by the tongue-in-cheek Nick Verreos of Project Runway season two, and included a panel discussion by three fashion savvy experts: Diego Rocha, custom handbag designer, Jacqueline Blanco, editor-in-chief of Vanidades magazine, and Leanne Violette, designer of Carlos by Carlos Santana footwear.
Cesar Rolon Jr., co-founder and principal of LFW, said that he felt very excited and proud for the event and LFW as a whole, because it shows retailors the Latinos’ “buying power,” meaning that Latinos will and do come to the Chicago downtown area to shop for clothes and cosmetics. He added that six years ago before starting LFW, there was zero support for Latino designers and models, but today all that has changed. “But there’s still a lot of work to do. There is a lot of work because the general market thinks that we only shop in our own backyard…we do shop on Michigan Avenue…and I think it is time that [the market] starts reinvestigating us. So that is what this is all about,” said Rolon Jr.
The Fashion Carlos by Carlos Santana
Santana’s new handbag and shoe collection has arrived just in time for the upcoming holiday parties, because if you just happen to be a classy partygoer, his accessories are just for you.
The footwear has a very boho-chic vibe with bedazzlement, flashy sequences and yee-haw! fringe. And it gets more interesting. Each shoe has a risqué name to follow. First on the runway was “The Sexy,” a peep-toe platform, five-inch heel decked out with shiny, multi-sequences in rainbow colors. “[La] nueva version de la Cenicienta,” said Blanco. Next was “The Pizzazz,” a collection of about four-inch heeled, booties with an exposed zipper on the side. The first of The Pizzazz was all black and another in leopard print with the heel a shiny black. Following was “The Drisckle,” a black bootie with bedazzled studs around the side of the heel. Panel speaker Violette participated, not on the runway, by wearing a no-name brown suede boot with fringe on the backside.
The first handbag was an orange thin strapped, very simple, rectangular shaped with boho-influenced designs on the edge of the opening flap. Next was a night out clutch adorned with a bow, all in silver glimmer against black. The last handbag swung across the shoulder with a chain strap on snake print with fringe on the front.
The new accessories were presented in the mix of numerous casual and dressy outfits created from other Macy’s designer brand name items. More from the new collection was expected. But in between the segments of catwalks, host Verreos did a great job of interacting with the audience and panel members causing giggles and smiles. He also threw in a few tips on life and fashion:
- Do not mess with a Latina. (Agreed!)
- Wear a push up bra. (Amen!)
- Show your midsection proudly. (Um, I don’t know about all that?)
- Curvy Latinas should squeeze into leggings and tight jeans. (Huh?)
Enlightenment: An Audience Member’s Opposing Opinion
Celebrity stylist for Univision Jomari Goyso talked to Gozamos after the presentation, and his brutal honesty was quite refreshing. When asked what he thought of the event, he said that it did not seem realistic to him. “No me pareseo que los looks eran correctamente put together. Me paresio como un gran store trying to sell everything they have.” He continued to explain that a lot of brand names were just thrown at the crowd and the outfits were not well thought of. The colors were too dark and the color blocking did not compliment the shape of the thin models, and the clothes were all fit for very thin woman. “La mujer Latina tiene curvas.” When asked what he thought of Verreos’ advice on curvy women wearing leggings, he quickly objected with eyes wide open. “Si la parte de ariva esta chanchada, tienes que crear un balance de una manera que lo de abajo tambien se vea desenchada.”
“A mi, me da igual la marka que sea,” he said, believing in style rather than fashion. If something looks great, it looks great; does not matter how expensive or cheap it sells for or if it is or not designer name.
“Mi mision es ser honesto.” His final words were that people should not follow fashion trends. Find your style and be you.