MEXICO CITY — The formulation was acquainted: invites from Vogue; a carpet full of celebrities, trend designers and fashions dressed to the nines; even a theme: Day of the Lifeless.
Final Thursday evening, these components got here collectively not on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork in New York, however at a museum in Mexico’s capital metropolis, the place Vogue Mexico held its third gala celebrating Día de Muertos. One of many nation’s most vital holidays, Day of the Lifeless, as additionally it is recognized, has arguably grow to be one in all its most business, too.
Absent from this gala was Anna Wintour, the highest editor at Vogue in the US and the worldwide chief content material officer on the publication’s mum or dad firm, Condé Nast. As an alternative, presiding over the occasion had been Karla Martínez de Salas, Vogue Mexico’s head editor, and Javier Esteban Carrascón, the chief government and common director of Condé Nast Mexico and Latin America.
“We’re honoring Mexican tradition, which for us is what’s most vital,” Ms. Martínez de Salas stated. “What we wish to spotlight,” she added, “is the expertise that there’s in Mexico.”
Contained in the Numismatic Museum, which occupies an almost 500-year-old former mint within the coronary heart of Mexico Metropolis, the nice and cozy glow of too many candles to rely lit up a cascade of golden cempasúchil flowers, or marigolds, and the faces of fashions carrying clothes from the namesake line of Mexican designer Benito Santos, a gala sponsor whose garments had been proven on the occasion.
Ms. Martínez de Salas, 45, held courtroom in an ankle-length, pleated coral gown designed by Mr. Santos; a standard rebozo wrap woven in her dad and mom’ house state of San Luís Potosí, Mexico; and a floral headpiece from Francisco Cancino, a clothier in Mexico Metropolis. The outfit, a wedding of conventional and extra modern Mexican items, mirrored the efforts Ms. Martínez de Salas has made to imbue a extra genuine Mexican and Latin American taste to the shiny pages of Vogue Mexico since changing into its prime editor in 2016.
“There have been so many tales to inform that weren’t being instructed, and we had one of the best platform to do it,” she stated.
Ms. Martínez de Salas has used the platform of Vogue Mexico to amplify the work of photographers and trend designers from the nation and from the bigger Latin American area. “Vogue is an unbelievable platform for thus many textiles and a lot trend that we’ve got in Mexico,” stated Fausto Monroy, a gala visitor and a clothier in Mexico Metropolis. The publication, he added, “is making all the colour that’s Mexico actually stand out.”
She has additionally used Vogue Mexico to inform tales concerning the Indigenous third-gender muxes of southern Mexico, the climbing cholita ladies of Bolivia and the Indigenous actress Yalitza Aparicio, who starred in Alfonso Cuarón’s Oscar-winning movie “Roma” and appeared on a Vogue Mexico cowl in 2019. In Mexico, the place commercials usually characteristic fashions who look extra European than Indigenous, that includes a then nearly unknown actress from the Mexican state of Oaxaca on the style journal’s cowl was heralded as unprecedented.
In 2019, Vogue Mexico additionally staged its first Day of the Lifeless gala, at Mexico Metropolis’s Museum of Common Artwork, to rejoice the twentieth anniversary of the journal’s relaunch in 1999. Plans for a 2020 occasion had been scrapped due to the pandemic. The gala returned in 2021, with about 250 friends invited to rejoice at Casa Castelar, an occasion area within the Polanco neighborhood of Mexico Metropolis. This yr’s occasion had round 350 invitees, stated Renata Ochoa, a Vogue Mexico spokeswoman. Admission was free with an invite, added Ms. Ochoa, who declined to touch upon the fee to stage the gala this yr and in years previous.
Like Ms. Martínez de Salas, many friends at this yr’s gala wore garments from Mexican designers, and a few attendees accessorized their outfits with the floral headpieces which have grow to be related to Day of the Lifeless.
Andrea Toscano, an entrepreneur and a former Miss Universe contestant, wore an all-white bolero-inspired ensemble by the Mexican designer Carlos Pineda. “We’re all giving that Mexican factor that all of us love, our tradition, however on the identical time combining it with trend,” Ms. Toscano stated.
The Mexican mannequin María Ibarra del Villar additionally wore an outfit designed by Mr. Pineda: a patchwork flamenco-style gown. “Due to the truth that we’re celebrating a convention, it provides us the chance to decorate extra historically, but additionally fashionable, to offer it a contemporary twist,” she stated. “I really like that form of trend.”
Vogue Mexico’s Day of the Lifeless gala is “one thing that we actually wish to make our personal,” Ms. Martínez de Salas stated, including that there are hopes for it to grow to be as buzzed about as some other Vogue occasion. “We wish this occasion to be shared globally.”
Whereas there have been trappings of genuine Day of the Lifeless celebrations together with altars, marigold garlands and skulls fabricated from sugar, it was a far cry from the intimate nature of the vacation, which is often centered on remembering deceased kinfolk. Día de Muertos, the Mexican actress Claudia Ramírez stated on the gala, is “a day to rejoice your useless, to go to the graveyard, pray to them, sing to them, eat with them.” The celebration, she added, lacked an integral factor: “There’s no useless individuals.”
Altars arrange in Mexican houses for the vacation, which is noticed yearly on Nov. 2, historically characteristic photographs of those that have died. The altars on the occasion had been devoid of photographs; as an alternative, they had been heavy with branding, together with sugar skulls stamped with “Vogue” on the foreheads. Occasion sponsors’ names may very well be noticed elsewhere: Farfetch, on a floral archway; Patrón, on the bar; Cadillac, on an S.U.V. parked within the museum’s courtyard.
The gala’s host and sponsors will not be the one corporations which have acknowledged the advertising and marketing potential of Day of the Lifeless. Manufacturers together with Adidas, Lacoste and Jean Paul Gaultier have included it into their promoting or collections.
The celebration obtained outsize world consideration in 2015, when it was depicted within the James Bond movie “Spectre,” which featured a fictitious Día de Muertos parade in Mexico Metropolis. The scene impressed native officers to start out an precise parade, which has grow to be a serious vacationer draw within the metropolis. This yr, the native authorities expects Día de Muertos celebrations to draw about 400,000 vacationers and generate $200 million.
For Ms. Martínez de Salas, who grew up in the US listening to her mom speak about Día de Muertos celebrations in Mexico, working with sponsors to stage a gala that promotes the vacation was a means to attract consideration to a convention that is still deeply private to her.
This yr’s occasion ended with the Mexican singer Carlos Rivera, wearing a magenta Dolce & Gabbana swimsuit, performing the tune “Bear in mind Me,” which he had initially recorded for the Spanish-language model of “Coco,” the 2017 Oscar-winning movie about Día de Muertos. Acknowledged for the efforts its creators took to precisely symbolize the vacation, the film was additionally a business success.
“I actually see it extra as a celebration of tradition,” Ms. Martínez de Salas stated of the gala. “Ultimately it comes from the center.”