A Collaboration with fashion designers Carla Fernández (Mexico) & Carlos Villamil (Columbia / Boston)
presented by Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
In conjunction with the RISE Music Series’ presentation of Mariachi Flor de Toloache
On March 30, 2017 KAIROS Dance Theater premiered Mascarada in Hostsetter Gallery at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. KAIROS opened for Latin-Grammy-nominated Mariachi Flor de Toloache, NYC’s first all-female mariachi band. Mascarada featured original fashion pieces designed by Carla Fernández and handmade masks designed by Carlos Villamil.
CARLOS VILLAMIL | ARTIST STATEMENT
I feel truly inspired by the work of Carla Fernández and her team. They not only create amazing clothes but also empower people, mostly women, in the indigenous communities of Mexico while supporting traditional textile techniques. Carla’s clothes are simple in construction but sophisticated in design, most of her pieces are done using squares and rectangles of fabric and follow the efficient geometric patterns of Mexican Pre-Hispanic clothes that still nowadays are used by indigenous people in different regions of the country.
For this performance I decided to create masks of Mexican mythological animals to honor Carla and Mariachi Flor de Toloache’s heritage and to emphasize the theme of Female Empowerment. The structure of the masks is similar to that of a helmet because I wanted the dancers to feel like warriors while wearing them. The masks are inspired by Aztec deities and symbolic animals; the Jaguar, the Águila Real (Royal Eagle) and Quetzacoatl, the feathered serpent god also known as Kukulkan by the Maya. They are made of felt and built using origami techniques, lots of hand stitching and love.
CARLA FERNÁNDEZ | BIOGRAPHY
Carla Fernández is a Mexico City-based fashion label inspired by the geometrics and textile richness of Mexico. Since her childhood, Carla Fernández has been a fan of Mexican culture. She has gained international acclaim for her extraordinary approach to preserving the rich cultural heritage of Mexico’s indigenous communities, transforming it into beautiful clothing, textiles and housewares. Her contemporary take on handcrafted methods, is proving ethical fashion can be striking, avant-garde and forward-looking.
A change agent and innovator, bringing new meaning to luxury fashion, Carla Fernández travels throughout Mexico visiting communities of artisans that specialize in handmade textiles, utilizing centuries-old indigenous techniques. Her labor-intensive approach is helping to sustain long-standing indigenous techniques and the people who collaborate with her. In the face of today’s “fast fashion”, she is helping young artisans understand they can earn a livelihood by continuing their family’s traditions instead of migrating to the city and eventually loosing their trade.
In 2013, Carla was one of 11 worldwide recipients of the Prince Claus Award based in Amsterdam, which recognizes artists whose cultural actions have a positive impact on the development of their societies. She has had solo exhibitions at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, MA / Museo Jumex in Mexico City / Heath Ceramics in San Francisco, CA / SIFA The O.P.E.N. Festival IN Singapore; and collective exhibitions at MAD Museum, New York; Palacio de Iturbide and Museo Amparo in Mexico City, among others. The Brand has been featured in publications such as Elle, Vogue, i-D, *wallpaper, T The New York Times magazine, among others.
FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT http://carlafernandez.com/en/