Fashion designer and Westword MasterMind Mona Lucero is a style icon. She knows what she likes and isn't afraid to share it — or wear it. Her new collection will be presented at the Whiteout fashion show, an annual highlight of Westword's Artopia, which will be at City Hall on February 25. In advance of that event, we caught up with Lucero near her studio at 30th and Blake streets to chat about her fashion ideas, design theory and what it's like to see her creations on the catwalk at Artopia.
Westword: What are your style inspirations and icons?
Mona Lucero: I'm inspired by romance, art, classics, sculpture and pop culture.
My absolute favorite designer is Issey Miyake; I love the asymmetrical stuff he does. He's very technical with fabric, and he's very innovative in that way. His fashion shows are beautiful, like poetry in motion, and he is a true artist and designer — even though in an interview he once said that he doesn't believe fashion is art. I don't agree with that statement, but I love his work.
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There are a variety of designers I love. But the designers I love like to play with fashion. Those are my favorites. I like things that are irreverent, in terms of fashion or art — things that are just a bit more playful. I love Franco Moschino because he was from Italy and had a Parisian flair that he mixed with lowbrow wit. I love Miuccia Prada; she always comes out with some amazing stuff. I love Ralph Lauren, because of the classic, understated style. I get in those understated moods sometimes myself as a designer, but generally I like to be playful.
I love Annie Hall and Bicycle Thieves — that movie will make you cry every time you watch it.
Jam of the moment:
I Googled sexy music and found all this crazy stuff. For a while I was into electro-swing music. Every year I make a new playlist on YouTube. Two songs I like right now are "Emotional Rescue," by the Rolling Stones and "Wow," by Beck.
Probably necklaces, all kinds of necklaces.... I love necklaces because you can express so much by layering them or by adding something to it. I have chains where I just throw a bunch of beads on or weird little trinkets, and before you know it, the necklace becomes something that has a personal meaning to me specifically. You can say so much with a necklace.
I have a large collection. One of my favorites is one with pearls and chains I love because it's vintage. I love another because it has a ’60s feel to it. I don't know if I have a favorite. They're kind of like your children.
Every day, I want to express how I'm feeling or what it is I'm about to do that day. It changes from one day to the next; it can be very different. I do have a variety of looks.
I make most of my own clothes and shop in my studio sometimes. I try not to as much, though, because I say, "What are the customers gonna buy?" I love vintage shopping, and do still shop at vintage stores. When I travel, I try to buy at least one piece of clothing that I love from the place that I visited, as a souvenir.
What will you show at Artopia?
I'm trying to surprise people. I always try to stay in line with the Mona Lucero brand, but also have that element of surprise, something that inspires people and makes them feel good for a little bit. Sometimes I may play some serious or sad music, but I always want to make people feel uplifted from the show. So this show will continue that.
What else is new?
Fashion shows are always a lot of work, but they're fun. What is going to be important this year is planning ahead. In terms of my business, there are lots of surprises ahead, and I'm planning for that. I think 2017 is going to be a really great year for my brand, and part of that is because I think things are starting to come together now. It's like things make more sense now than they ever did.
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I have been designing since 1987, when I graduated from Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. All of the ideas I've had over the years are finally jelling, and it's happening naturally, and that's exciting.
Don't miss your chance to see Lucero's latest work on the runway at Artopia on February 25 at City Hall; you can purchase tickets here.