A skilled stylist doesn’t just possess a great eye for fashion, it’s about how each piece comes together to create a full look, a visual statement about the wearer and their personal references, which often evoke their culture as well as clothing tastes. Peruvian-born and -raised, Elvira Zamora has made this idea her whole career. Living in L.A. since 1991, Zamora grew up surrounded by labels and sewing machines, as her father was a tailor. He exposed and educated his daughter about both the mechanics and the magic of fashion since she could walk and talk.
“It’s been an inspiration my whole life,” Zamora says as she prepares to present her latest fashion show at Antonio Pelayo’s Mexican wrestling and art-filled La Bulla event at Plaza de la Raza this Saturday (co-sponsored by L.A. Weekly). “For La Bulla, I am designing one of a kind up-cycled looks for the runway because I would like to be a green designer and limit the use of new materials. I’d rather re-use materials. ”
Zamora, who is known as the “Fashion Gangsta” and helms Wardrobe Divas as a stylist and online retail site, plans to explore “the meaning of Luchador/a from my point of view and how the cultura is an inspiration to anyone fighting their own personal battles,” she explains. “I design looks for fashion shows in my own interpretation of the theme and I like to bring aspects of modern, avant-garde and couture looks to every catwalk.”
When it comes to lucha culture there is plenty to be inspired by, too. The vibrant pageantry and thrilling competition of Mexican wrestling dates back to the 1800s, when the sport began to veer from its Greek and Roman roots. It wasn’t until the 1930s that Mexican wrestling as we know it today began to really take off. Known as the father of Lucha, Salvador Lutteroth González, established “Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre” (known today as Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre) around 1933, promoting bouts across Mexico, and helping establish the luchador as an iconic sports figure that continues to capture imaginations and enjoy fervent fandom in Mexico and the U.S. Here in L.A. the events happen occasionally, and Lucha Va Voom continues to pack the Mayan with bouts and burlesque.
Part of the luchador appeal comes, of course, from the grand regalia they wear, which often consists of colorful tights, spandex pants and leotards as well as a menacing mascara (mask) embellished with vibrant color and contrast. “Ever since I discovered Lucha, I loved the mystery of the person behind the mask,” Zamora says. “Where do they come from? Who are they? What kind of message do they want to share with the world? I want to provide the voice of each model through the design and what they are trying to express. ”
Zamora hopes to represent strength and freedom through her looks for women at the event, working with tops, bottoms, capes, and the masks themselves. “Masks are like personalities, although we may have similarities, not any two people are exactly alike,” she says. “You can look at similar masks and costumes and each one will have certain details that make them unique.”