Beatrice Valenzuela, Closets
Beatrice Valenzuela

Every once in awhile, something new pops onto your visual radar enough times and you know that a designer is onto something great. This was the case with Beatrice's handmade leather moccasins, when I saw the third or fourth version of them in yet another place. The indigenous-inspired shoes are Beatrice's answer to the perennial American Indian footwear, re-imagined with her native Mexican twist and a slightly less costume-y feel. I love the royal blue ones with red stitching that look like the perfect bohemian answer to the espadrille or Chinese slipper and echo her royal blue hand-knit sweater that she wears with Isabel Marant's take on a khaki cargo pant - great combo. Beatrice's affinity for rich colors, like her violet Prada dress with red lipstick, yellow shawl and beaded cuff reminds me of Luis Barragan's minimal yet richly pigmented architecture, which she grew up with. Beatrice feels more Mexican than American, though she grew up between the the two countries. Of Mexico she says, "I love the food... and I love the color... and I love the chaos... there’s this energy that you can feel."

The designer and mother of one prefers the old and traditional when it comes to aesthetics and techniques, including basket and loom weaving, embroidering and ceramics. "I love making things and feel a huge sense of pride when I can say I made it," she says, like the multihued shawl/blanket that she wove for her daughter on a loom and looks like the twin to her antique skirt from Oaxaca. In a wraparound skirt with embroidery done by hand, Beatrice says with enthusiasm, "It takes many, many years to be able to get your craft to a level that’s like this." It helps to appreciate the sartorial benefits of a handmade crocheted top with a folkloric Dries Van Noten skirt when you've grown up around beautiful textiles and the native people of Mexico, which to us unfortunately might look like a costume, but to them is their everyday wear. Just as Beatrice was surprised by the fact that everyone's home in America looks blandly the same - hers by comparison looks like the Garden of Eden - all too often, so do their clothes.

If you love Beatrice, you may also like Kristen Lee, Chase Cohl and Susan Cianciolo.

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