Creativity runs in the family: Sarita Peralta, a homemaker who dabbles in designing accessories, is the younger sister of fashion designer Alejandra Perlata, whose work starred at the Viva la Sirena show at the Museo de las Americas April 19. Not only were the fashions inspired by the Pachuca movement, but so was the jewelry by Xencs L. Wing, and the makeup and hair by Vanita Dollz founder Cha Cha Romero, complete with pincurls intricately woven with flowers.
In the late 1930s and 1940s, Mexican-American youth created their own stylized language, culture and fashion as a way of expressing cultural pride during a time when being Latino was unpatriotic. The Pachuca movement embodied a rebellious and sensual flair that broke the boundaries of beauty for American women. Pachucas rejected the domesticated female stereotype in the way they dressed, styled their hair and used makeup. Alejandra Peralta's collection brings a modern twist to the Pachuca legacy, playing with masculine and feminine archetypes with high-waisted slacks and button-up shirts.
Alejandra is a mother and business student at Metropolitan State University of Denver, who began her fashion design career in 2012 and started her own company, Iccauhtzin, in 2017. She was inspired in her early designs by her upbringing in Denver's La Alma-Lincoln Park neighborhood. "One of the things I loved the most as a child were the Cinco de Mayo celebrations that took place on Santa Fe Drive before the arts district," she says. "The colorful displays of my cultural identity continue to inspire me, and I hope it is evident in the things that I create."
And Sarita was there to support her creations. "I do whatever I can for my family, and my sister is the mastermind behind all of this," Sarita explained when we met her at the show. We asked about her work, her family and her outfit for the evening, which included a rosary, a serape satchel bag, cut-off Dickies shorts, and green Converse sneakers.
Westword: Who or what inspires your personal style?
Sarita Peralta: I would say my heritage and my culture inspire my style, but I make it my own.
How did your upbringing influence your fashion sense and style?
When I think of my upbringing, my heart fills with pride. We had lots of ups and downs, but what strong family doesn't? I had aunts on my mom's side who each have a sense of their own style. On my dad's side, there are women who dress in traditional Mexican fashion with all the beautiful bright colors, to cowboy steelo. Not to mention the movies and music. My dad was a mariachi, so Mexican cultura is something that I love. All those things put together influenced my style. The way I choose to dress on any particular day can vary from pinup to rock. I love it all.
How important is family to you?
Family is everything.
What kind of creative outlets do you pursue?
Personally, I vibe off other people's creativity. I'll try anything once. I feel like I am a sponge and want to absorb as much of the world I can. So being able to vibe with my sister Alejandra on her fashion adventures has been awesome. She's taught me a great deal of one of her crafts, as have Cha Cha and Xencs. I mean, these women are out there doing what they love to do and killing it. So I am honored to be a part of their luz.
What did you think of the fashion show?
I was gushing with love and pride! It was amazing. The vibes were crazy good!
What is your favorite accessory?
Earrings for sure.
What is your favorite color?
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The backdrop for the fashion show was Pachucos y Sirenas, an exhibit that features old-school and new-school artists who share an affinity with the Pachuco legacy. The artists, including Justin Favela, Antonia Fernandez, Carlos Fresquez, Josiah Lopez, Jerry Vigil and Daniel Salazar, all highlight the impact that the Pachuco legacy has had on the American experience.
Pachucos y Sirenas continues through May 26 at the Museo, which is located at 861 Santa Fe Drive. Find out more about the show here.
Click here to see more of Peralta's designs.