A/W16 INSPIRATION: GRANDMOTHERS
Posted on 09 February 2016
After months of preparation, MESTIZA NEW YORK is pleased to introduce its third collection. The first delivery is available to pre-order now.
Co-Founders Louisa Rechter and Alessandra Perez-Rubio’s connections to the Philippines serve as a foundation for the ornate cocktail line, but this particular collection pays homage to beloved ghosts of the past: grandmothers.
Alessandra’s grandmother, Maria Luisa Perez-Rubio, was a philanthropist in the Philippines, known for her fiery personality and fabulous sense of style. After she passed, Alessandra inherited some of her couture gowns. Every time she pulls them from her closet, cherished memories are ignited.
Elements of Maria Luisa’s wardrobe are seen in the collection: a bead and sequin yoke, bird embellishments, floral embroidery and couture accouterments.
To salute the modern Filipiniana who inspires the line, MESTIZA NEW YORK partnered with the Habi Foundation in the Philippines to preserve female artisanal heritage.
Each piece in the new collection is designed to be ornate, exotic and tell a story.
Alessandra shares intimate memories of her grandmother and the inspiration behind the line in an exclusive interview.
When was the first time you noticed and appreciated your grandmother’s sense of style?
I didn’t appreciate it until I was about 20 years old. I was in Manila for summer break and she called me over to her apartment one day. In the midst of cleaning, she revealed her enormous collection of dresses, fur coats, scarves, handbags, shoes…anything you can imagine, she had tons of it, all over her apartment. You know that feeling when you go shopping and your mom tells you to buy whatever you want? It was like that…I was excited because I knew I was going to leave with a lot of loot. This experience was our little secret!
What elements of her wardrobe were the most eye-catching and special to you?
The pieces she gave me were all very ornate. Some of the dresses had intricate beadwork at the neck and the shoulders-- all custom and made by hand. She had gowns with really beautiful layers of lace and bright colors. She always wore a fancy Maria Clara dress to weddings and special events.
My grandmother was only five feet tall, so if I got a gown it was more like an awkward ankle-length dress. A mini dress was more like a tunic on me. I had to alter all of them to fit me! I’m happy I was able to recreate the feeling and the mood of the clothing she left me in this new collection.
What about her style differentiates itself from other people?
What was cool about the clothes that she did leave me was that all of them are still relevant and stylish today even though they were made in 1950 or 1960. Her style transcended time and generations.
Another thing was, she really valued the time and memories created in each of the dresses she saved. I remember her pulling out a shift with a beaded yoke and saying “This dress is special, I had a lot of fun in it!”
Why did you feel it was important to incorporate elements of her wardrobe into the MESTIZA NEW YORK collection?
I still think about her often. My dad talks about her all the time. She was such a force of nature and impacted my life in a positive way. Designing a collection that is inspired by her wardrobe is another way for me to keep her memory alive, another way for me to remember her.
If your grandmother were alive today, how do you think she’d feel knowing you made a collection inspired by her?
She would probably rip it apart to be completely honest! She’d ask “why the hemlines are so short?” or “why are some of the dresses backless?!” But, in her own special way, I think she would be proud, and maybe even a little bit flattered.