Updated: Jul 4, 2019
“Resplandor” in Spanish meaning “The brilliant, the glowing” is the name that the Italian designer Maurizio Galante gave to his new haute couture collection which is conceived as a tribute to Mexican culture. Maurizio Galante recounts a story of American natives living in magnificent reciprocity with nature, and about the encounter of two cultures when the European influence first arrived.
The Resplandor is a typical headdress of the Tehuana women in the province of Oaxaca, Mexico. Frida Kahlo painted herself wearing the “Resplandor” in two of her self- portraits. “Self-portrait as a Tehuana or Diego in my thoughts, 1943” and “Self-portrait, 1948”.
According to the legend, a box filled with children’s clothes made of fine lace and bright colors escaped from a boat and was washed ashore. This box was discovered by the Tehuanans, who became fascinated by these unknown materials. Not knowing the exact purpose of these clothes, they used them as accessories, giving life to what they named “Resplandor”.
The collection’s bright colors, diversity of textures, patterns and volumes reflects the Mexican rich and vivid spirit, as well as the tropical landscapes and biodiversity of the region. The designer opened the show with a “bird snake” suit entirely covered by individual scales-like cut out organza shapes.
The designer certainly took a risk in this collection, considering that we live in an era in which cultural appropriation is a hotly debated topic for creators. Especially those who want to inspire themselves from a different culture. One prominent recent example of this controversy was the Caroline Herrera scandal in which she was accused of stealing autochthonous designs. However, he created his collection with much discretion to respect Mexican cultural heritage as much as possible. The garments where created in Mexico, by native artisans and using local materials.
The designer told the AFP: “If I go to Mexico, I respect the local culture, I don’t try to make it appear in a negative or strange way. I use the names of the artisans. That is to incarnate the voyage.”
Photos by Jean-Louis Coulombel. Courtesy of Maurizio Galante