Our post today highlights a trend we’re seeing crop up lately—a fascination with all things Mexico. We’ll be featuring several posts dedicated to the trend during the next month that we believe will illuminate this. Today, we feature one designer whose passion for the Yucatan is an all-consuming one. As High Point Market gets underway today, her fashion will be in the mix in the Currey & Company showroom. Along with debuting an array of exciting new products by Marjorie Skouras, the manufacturer is featuring a selection of vintage dresses the designer has collected. These will be on view from the moment market opens on April 21st until it closes on Wednesday, April 26th. We at Design Diary wanted to give our readers who will be attending Market a heads up in case you weren’t aware of the event.
The exhibition is called La Vida es Bella: Mexican Modernist Textiles from The Marjorie Skouras Collection. Marjorie has collected over 200 textiles and we will be featuring 24 vintage Mexican dresses from the 1970s that she has handpicked for us. Marjorie’s interest in these fashion statements began when she bought a ruined 19th-century colonial mansion in Merida, Mexico, in 2015. While the collection began simply as a passion for the pieces themselves, Marjorie became so enthralled, she began researching the dress makers/designers in order to understand their inspirations.
Marjorie found that the impetus for many of the designs sprang from Mexican art and culture during the 1960s and 1970s, and that they reflected the surrealist, modern, and pop art movements that were exploding during those decades. “My fascination for these dresses can actually be traced back to 1974 when we lived in Los Angeles,” she notes. “It was de rigueur at that time for those attending the eighth grade at the Westridge School for Girls to wear embroidered wedding dresses from Oaxaca with Sperry Topsiders; that is, if you were a cool girl!” And we all know that Marjorie was/is definitely a cool girl! “Fast forward to 2015, and as the owner of a ruined 19th-century colonial mansion in Merida, Yucatan, which was my life’s dream (or so I thought…), I decided that I should have a wardrobe to complement my new lifestyle,” she adds.
This desire inspired Marjorie to begin looking for the vintage Mexican dresses and her excitement grew as she began finding exquisite specimens. “After buying about 15 of them, I realized there was an element to which I was drawn in the pieces by several designers—this is where the surrealist, modern, and pop art movements come into play because their patterns reflected these dynamic developments made by the artists involved in those movements,” she remembers. “Once I realized this, I narrowed my search in order to concentrate on the dresses with the certain motifs that brought them that particular style.”
Something else organic happened as she found more specimens. “As I continued to research the makers, Mexican culture, and the art that was burgeoning during the 1960s and 1970s, the focus of the collection was created,” she says. “I never imagined that it would be of interest to museums, but 50 of the dresses I own have been tapped by the Museo del Arte Popular de Yucatan in Merida to be shown there, and will then travel to Mexico City and other places around the world.” The title of the exhibition is “Transpositions: Popular Art Reinterpreted, Mexican Fashions of the 1960s and 1970s,” and it is Marjorie’s hope that it will capture the attention of book publishers.
“Serendipity, or more likely another manifestation of the magical surrealism of everyday life in Mexico, is at work here,” she adds. “There are many designs in several mediums percolating, which will be based on elements from the collection.” If you’d like to see the exhibition in person, stop by the Currey & Company showroom in the IHFC at M110 on Main Street. You can find Marjorie Skouras online on her website.