Though much smaller than the fashion weeks of New York, London, Milan and Paris, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Mexico still packs a punch. Last week, 20 designers and two fashion colleges from Latin America presented their autumn/winter 2014 collections next to Mexico City’s National Auditorium at Campo Marte for an audience of press, buyers, bloggers and local industry members.
Unlike the big four fashion weeks, Mexico is simultaneously removed and in touch with the international design scene, and consequently designers' work is less trend-driven -- and perhaps more authentic -- than that of their international counterparts. Of the 22 collections shown, there were four that stood out as ones to watch for 2014 and beyond. Click through for a brief introduction to each one.
This Columbian designer was the winner of "Project Runway" Latin America's first season and was later a mentor on the show. Jorge’s designs were definitely the most exciting of the week thanks to his innovative fabric use and on-trend silhouettes.
Notable pieces seen included a gray and white A-line coat, metallic utility jacket, a pony hair collared jacket embossed in a mosaic pattern, and a sheer blue lace top worn with a midi wrap skirt -- an important silhouette for autumn/winter 2014/15. Surprisingly, Duque is a professional physiotherapist but no longer practices, choosing instead to devote his time to fashion design. He's proof that it’s never too late to switch careers -- just another reason why we admire him.
Julia y Renata
Mexican designers Julia and Renata started their line back in 1993 and since then have steadily positioned themselves as one of the most influential brands in Mexico. Based out of the city of Guadalajara, they’ve shown at several fashion weeks across the globe including Tessaloniki, Greece; Madrid, Spain; Miami and Los Angeles, as well as collaborating with brands like Adidas and Absolut.
This autumn/winter 2014, they showcased a palette of deep burgundy and navy mixed with nude and lavender on a collection of dresses in elaborately draped silk. As the collection progressed, these evolved to more architectural origami style designs. The more structural dresses featured jigsaw cut-out panels, asymmetrical cap sleeves, drawstring cinched necklines and protruding hip extensions -- think Comme Des Garcons meets Maison Martin Margela.
A design trio from Argentina, Natalia Casal, Lucia Cornejo and Marina Rulli all graduated in 2011 from the University of Buenos Aires, where they now teach. They’ve previously won the chance to show at Buenos Aires Fashion Week in 2013, before winning a competition to show their A/W 14/15 assortment at this season’s MBFW Mexico.
For this collection they took inspiration from Gauchos, the nomadic and often colorfully decorated horsemen of South American Pampas (grasslands). The trio have previously stated that they create clothing for a real body, embracing the feminine form, which could be seen in a cropped skeletal and floral print top and matching maxi skirt and embellished chiffon cocktail dresses. Tregua also turned heads at the festival because of their innovative printed latex use on skirts and a blouse that looks as if it had been melted, as well as their braided accessories.
The Mexican designer is known for her wild imagination and ability to create conceptual themes that are grounded in the reality of a commercially viable and trend-driven line. She has previously studied at ESMOD in Paris and IESModa in Mexico and worked in design for Tata-Naka and Alexander McQueen before launching her eponymous brand, which is sold in Japan, China and the U.S.
This season, Quesada brought whimsy to her collection through the use of dull pastels in various tie-dye prints and bleed patterns, seen on a sweatshirt, button-up shirt and maxi skirt. Other highlights of the collection include a silver matching pant set, an epaulette covered straight midi dress and a long-line leather bomber jacket.
Samantha Aldenton is the assistant editor of womenswear at WGSN.