Ruffles, hothouse florals, off-the-shoulder everything—latin flair is having a major moment in fashion. Meet the next generation of designers bringing that South American sizzle to our wardrobes.
With her Maison Alma collection, Daniela Bahamon marries French textile design with the tailoring of her native Colombia.
Miami has always been on the cutting edge of all things Latin America (food, design, music, art), and fashion is no exception. We love an Esteban Cortazar cocktail dress and have danced many a night away in Silvia Tcherassi’s frothy gowns. But it wasn’t until recently that the rest of the fashion world discovered that something magical was happening south of the border. It was winter 2015—one of the coldest New York Fashion Weeks in history—but you wouldn’t have known inside Café Clover in the West Village. The crowd was giddy and the air was balmy as Colombian designer Johanna Ortiz unveiled her newest collection: subtly seductive offthe- shoulder blouses, voluminous skirts in bright, optimistic prints, and ruffles. So many ruffles. The designs boldly challenged the standards of the established winter wardrobe, and New York’s notoriously fickle fashion editors were instantly wooed. The socalled Latin look became a global phenomenon. Flash forward to 2018, and the ruffle has not only become a staple but an emblem for Latin style. Now a new generation of South American designers are pushing beyond the expected, and digging deeper to portray the inner workings of Latin sophistication.
Why not consider a pleat, questions Bogota-based Carlo Carrizosa through his thought-provoking collections. A master at deconstructing masculine elements for an edgy yet feminine result, the Parsons-trained designer, with a mere three years under his belt, has accomplished what few his age can boast—a recognizable style and identity. His expertise lies in pleated detailing on pieces that have drawn the attention of fashion insiders, such as Lauren Santo Domingo. Meanwhile, his Colombian colleague, Daniela Bahamon of Maison Alma, is bearing the soul of Latin America on the sleeve of one closet staple—the coat. Born in Bogota but based in Paris, Bahamon launched her brand one year ago with the mission to share the continent’s true hidden treasures—its luxurious home interiors. As the name would suggest, all her pieces are made with French interior design fabrics, yet handcrafted in Colombia. The novel concept quickly caught the attention of the international set with the recent launch of an exclusive collection created in collaboration with Pierre Frey for Bergdorf Goodman.
Patricia Padrón represents her native Venezuela from Madrid, creating whimsical works of art through her namesake label. Going on her fourth collection, the architect-turned-designer’s strength is in artisanal techniques and voluminous silhouettes, such as her Poroo top, a brand favorite. “I’d like to think that the women I design for are/wear flowers,” she says. One such client is Carmen Busquets, the visionary luxury and fashion entrepreneur, known for her Midas touch. With such a significant nod of approval and presence on Moda Operandi, Padrón is definitely a name to know..
And then there are the Argentines, who have earned a coveted space in their first lady Juliana Awada’s uber-chic closet. Argentinean-Belgian Juan Hernandez Daels is the definition of fashion globalization. Based between Antwerp, Buenos Aires and Paris, Daels trained in London’s Central Saint Martins and studied under Dries Van Noten and Raf Simons, before launching his eponymous brand in Europe, which he later established in his hometown with a stand-alone boutique. He describes his line as “future vintage” pieces with a bicultural tension that are a perfect embodiment of his background— equal parts daring and seductive, yet nonchalant and sober all at once. Marcelo Giacobbe, on the other hand, is driven entirely by desire and seduction. His collections, crafted in Buenos Aires, are known for their modern romanticism, and exclusively for women brave enough to flaunt a bit of tasteful sensuality (e.g., Awada’s choice for the G20 gala in Hamburg last year). After all, isn’t that what’s at the root of what truly sets us Latins apart… un poco de picante?