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Dia de los Muertos on the runway in Echo Park

November 17, 2008 |  1:07 pm

Dia de los Muertos

Created nine years ago by East Los Angeles artist Reyes Rodriguez, the Calavera Fashion Show and Walking Altars features unique creations that combine modern themes with traditional Dia de los Muertos iconography for a colorful, off-the-wall, thought-provoking runway event at the Tropico de Nopal Gallery in Echo Park.

“The Calavera Fashion Show and Walking Altars idea was born naturally from observing fellow artists create amazing calavera outfits,” said Reyes.  Inspired by the clothes artists wore for the Day of the Dead, he said,  “I always felt that it deserved its own runway -- thus our Calaverawalk.”

Soon after its inception, Reyes added “walking altars” to the event, based on the Day of the Dead tradition of altars created to remember the dead. He said, “It helped to consolidate all of the ideas behind the Day of the Dead celebration, keeping it open-ended to allow the artists to be as creative as they wanted to be around the theme. The artists must conceive the idea of a walking altar, create it, wear it or select a model/s who will embody their idea, select the music for the piece and make it come alive on the calavera walk on the night of the event.

“It's not only Calavera couture but performance art, music and theater and at the core of it are Chicano and Latino artists,” said Reyes.

Here's my photo gallery of the fashion show.

-- Robert  Gauthier

Photo: Monet Soto portrays Juanita T. Flores, the mother of artist Juana Flores, who designed this walking altar as a dedication to her mother. Credit: Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times.