Devotion to Style: The Virgin of Guadalupe as a Fashion Icon
The influence of La Morenita (the affectionate name Mexicans give to the Virgin of Guadalupe) goes far beyond people’s beliefs. As a true pop icon, the image of this religious figure has transitioned from being revered in churches and altars to becoming a regular presence in catwalks and boutiques all over the globe.
For better or worse, the familiar faces of Frida Kahlo, Pablo Escobar and Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara have been immortalized by the fashion world, so it’s refreshing to find the gentle presence of the Guadalupana trending in this environment. Despite what you might think, “wearing” the representation of the Virgin isn’t frowned upon. On the contrary, it’s become a symbol of pride and honor for the Mexican-American culture.
Patty Delgado, a graduate of Religious Studies from UCLA, is the mastermind behind the Hija de tu Madre brand, which aims to bring millennials closer to their roots. “Latinos are so eager to reflect their culture in their attire… They feel connected with my designs because they’re a strong statement of our identity,” explains Delgado.
“For me, the Virgin of Guadalupe speaks volumes about where I’m from and my own personal history, both as a Mexican and as a Latina,” adds the designer. Curiously, the first item of clothing she came up with was a handmade denim jacket with the image of La Guadalupana made from sequins. The rest, as they say, is history.
Following her lead, fashion powerhouses like Dolce & Gabbana, Jean Paul Gaultier, Dior and Ed Hardy, among others, have hopped on this religious imagery trend during the past seasons. Far from being disrespectful, designers and fashion critics alike point to this style as a way of representing one’s faith, of feeling “protected” by our beliefs without caring what others might think. After all, fashion should be a way of expressing who we are on the inside, right?
Whatever your feelings on the subject may be, the Virgin of Guadalupe as a fashion icon restores hope among young Latinos who have strayed from the path of religious belief in order to join a world which is more materialistic than ever. Hispanics in general –and Mexicans in particular– are so appreciative of La Morenita that they have embraced this new iteration of her image, not caring much for how it may look to outsiders.
What’s really important is for the new wave of designers who rely on religious imagery for inspiration to always show respect, a sophisticated approach and a true appreciation of their subject. This has been the norm so far –tasteful patterns and bright colors have turned the Virgencita of Guadalupe into the new polka dot print.
If you need proof of this, just take a look at how the Virgen Morena has captured social media through bold and vibrant designs that are also millennial-friendly…
Image via: Hija de tu Madre
Distroller, by Amparín Serrano, has distinguished itself for cartoony designs of the Virgin of Guadalupe in brazen colors. This bag is the perfect example!
This bracelet is practically all you need to breathe new life to the simplest of outfits. The daring mix of textures and colors balance out the serene face of the Virgin, a true showstopper.
A modern take on the classic religious charm: The pearls in this discreet piece are an easy match for nearly every outfit.
The handmade embroidery on the Hija de tu Madre jackets ushered in the Virgin of Guadalupe as a fashion trend. Despite there being dozens of designs based on this religious image, the #VirgencitaJacket is still the most popular item. Sequins and pop culture? A match made in heaven –pun intended– for young latinas everywhere!
A pencil skirt accentuates nearly every figure, and this version with the Virgen matches perfectly with a neutral-toned top, balancing out the outfit. Check out how well the image of La Morenita lends itself to the creative use of sequins, beads and tassels without being garish.
The Virgin of Guadalupe also pairs well with other trends, like military jackets. Besides being girly (just look at all those flowers!) you’ll still be honoring your culture and your faith through your apparel.
The Guadalupana transcends fashion itself. The most daring among us would add her image to intricate manicures and pedicures. Nowadays you can find the Virgin in stickers and stencils, and some of the craftier nail experts would even draw her by hand.
This particular treatment consists of nail wraps attached with clear polish, an easy way of creating a spectacular manicure from the comfort of home.
Nail art not your thing? Go for the Guadalupana treatment on a single nail and add contrast to the rest with classic tones, like crimson red or a neutral creme. You’ll still look trendy without sacrificing your style.