Hey Macarenä! Mexican Fashion that will Make you Dance with Delight
Lucia Toribio shares her personal inspirations and the story of her journey from Industrial engineering to fashion design
Written by: Arianna Meschia for The Nopo
As I start to make out Lucia on our slightly unstable internet connection, one thing appears clear from the outset: this industrial engineer-turned-designer-turned-entrepreneur-turned-mother knows exactly how to wear many different hats to make her vision become a reality.
Her deep black eyes sparkle with enthusiasm as she tells me of the brand she started four years ago, after a stint in the oil & gas industry that took her to the four corners of the world, only to land her back to the very core of her being: Mexico.
While taking a career break a few years back, Lucia didn’t have to think too long and hard about how to develop what she had been dreaming up in her head for a long time: a classy, high-end fashion brand with a Mexican twist, showcasing to the world the best and brightest of artisanal Oaxacan crafts and materials.
Her collections are packed full of Mexican flavor, from the color palettes of her handbags to the precious embroidery and tassels of her clutches, but retain an effortless elegance that would make anyone wearing one of her creations fully at home on a Parisian catwalk.
“My brand Lucia Macarenä all started very organically to be honest… The word macarena just came to my head like that, as if by magic, and I thought it worked well with my name. Then back at my laptop designing the logo, I put the two dots on the ä, and that was it!”
Lucia’s destiny seems to have been written in the cotton threads of the tehuana blouses and huipiles she grew up surrounded with. She fondly remembers her mother being the artsy one of the family, teaching Lucia all about making things with her hands with the patience and care developed over years of teaching students. “It was actually crazy to be around my mom. My dad would give her a necklace as a gift, and the next day the necklace was gone and she had turned it into a pair of earrings and a bracelet that she liked better!”
Much like her mother, Lucia has a very specific taste and luckily for us, has a host of artisans throughout Mexico who are ready to jump on board her most revolutionary ideas to turn her fantastic ideas into accessories we can all enjoy.
Working with artisans isn’t always easy though, and Lucia, helped by their shared language and background, sometimes needs to do a bit of convincing to experiment and play around with the tropes of Mexican crafts.
“Something doesn’t have to be overly Mexican to be successful. I love to take all the colors, garishness, and bounce of Mexican aesthetics and pair it back to bring it to a more contemporary, high-end look. Once the artisans I work with see the final product on a magazine or being sold abroad, they get very excited, and then it’s their turn to come up with even crazier designs. This is the core of my brand, the joy and pride I take in working with artisans is unparalleled.”
Lucia loves to keep the design process very collaborative. She might do a sketch of something that’s in her head, inspired by high-end fashion like Gucci or Chanel, or by the bountiful colors of the Oaxacan nature. Then it’s time to experiment with the artisans, make prototypes, see what does or doesn’t work once the design comes off the page and into the real world, dealing with smooth silk fabric imported from Italy, or locally produced cotton threads for embroidery.
All her collections feature an exquisitely feminine touch as well, from the attention to detail to the names like Luciana and Carmela, which all have a story to tell. “I love to take inspiration from the people and things that surround me in my everyday life. All the product names are of something or someone that originally inspired me.”
One of our favorites is Carmela, a woven straw bag with fruit and vegetable pendants made with colorful beads, which was named after one of her best friends who is a chef and is always using her mother’s name, Carmela, in her dishes.
Not to mention of course her Rojo Mitla Clutch, with a bold design of embroidered red flowers over white silk, inspired by the ancient Zapotec word and homonymous archeological site meaning “the underworld”.
With spring here to stay and Mother’s Day just around the corner, there’s never been a better time to bring some of Mexico’s flamboyance to your wardrobe, while still keeping a smart and classy look. Head to Lucia Macarenä’s shop today to browse her collection of clutches, handbags, and beach bags.