As I write this I am currently in Chiapas sourcing and researching a clothing line utilizing traditional Mexican embroideries and weavings.
I was lucky enough to have been in DF for Mexican Independence Day. I stayed in a hotel just two blocks from the Zocolo with its magnificent cathedral and National Palace. And of course where President Nieto led the famous “El Grito ” on the night of Sep 15 . It was a lot of fun with all the decorations and the crowds in the Zocolo wearing plastic Afros, Mohawks, and even false eyelashes in red, white & green symbolizing the colors of the Mexican flag. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get much business done with all the holiday closings. Oh well another trip is in the works!
Mexico City, if you haven’t been, is a big beauty with so much to experience that I could easily spend two weeks there enjoying myself. DF ( Distrito Federal ) as its commonly called, is divided into different “Zona’s ” ( area’s ). The most popular Zona’s for visitors are Centro Historico , La Zona Rosa, Condessa , Polonco , Roma and Paseo de la Reforma along with Miguel Hidalgo which encompasses the forest of Chapultepec , one of largest city parks ( 1695 acres ) in the Western Hemisphere , which includes a castle once used by heads of state, the Museum of Anthropology , Rufino Tamayo museum and a Zoo .
Every Zona has much to offer culturally, historically, and gastronomically . From fine dining to the best street food in Mexico, in my humble opinion. Huitlacoche or flor de calabaza quesadillas anyone? Mexico City also boasts the most museums of any city in the world! You have a chance to attend a major opera, a rock show and multiple musical venues showcasing Banda, Norteno , Trios , Marimba etc ….. Theater , the list goes on and on like any major international city .
You can shop to your hearts content at the mercados for artesania or pop into a fine department store such as Palacio de Hierro for imported clothing perfume and cosmetics . It will cost you though, as we all know imported goods are highly taxed!
As I hadn’t been to DF for some time I did my research before leaving from Vallarta. The objective of my trip was to explore the fashion scene in DF which is very hip and growing.
I had read about the Roma district known for its art galleries, cool bars, restaurants, and unusual boutiques, one being “Vintage HOE“. ( HOE meaning Heaven On Earth ) The owner of Vintage HOE is Joel de Fandiño who’s family is Cuban though Joel is from Venice, California.
I was lucky enough to wander into his vintage boutique last Wednesday, the only day Joel is actually in the store himself as he is very busy styling individuals as well as commercials and film, designing jewelry for Carla Fernandez, a remarkable clothing designer who interprets traditional Mexican styling in a contemporary format . Joel also works with Ms. Fernandez’ s foundation “Taller Flor ” traveling to indigenous communities creating more abundance while maintaining the cultural and historical integrity of embroideries .
Now of course there are bazars all over Mexico selling used clothing though what makes Joel’s vintage boutique special is that its curated by this man with a strong background in design, beauty, and fashion. Being fascinated by Joel’s story, having always worked in fashion myself, we agreed to meet the next day for lunch and chat some more. Joel came to DF by way of KMS, a highly regarded hair product company ( my fave ) working in PR . With his gorgeous head of curls and winning personality it’s no wonder Joel headed PR in both Brazil and Argentina, following with Mexico. Before these stints Joel worked with funky retail fashion stores in LA and with esteemed film and interior decorator Tony Duquette. Joel also taught design for five years at Mexico City’s Centro de Deseño Cine y Television.
Joel’s motto is reduce , reuse , repair! His boutique Vintage HOE is a direct response to fast fashion. (Fast fashion being companies like Forever 21 , Zara , H & M , etc…..) And the irresponsibility in their use of resources and the wide spread contamination they create. It’s easy to see how Joel came to work with Carla Fernandez and her foundation “Taller Flor” working with indigenous communities of artisans stating “they empower me more then I empower them , simply with the un- conditional love they exhibit”.
If you’re interested in unique fashion, and even if you’re not, I suggest a trip to Vintage Hoe and one of Carla Fernandez’s boutiques as a cultural event .
Joel de Fandiño’s insider tips to DF .
1. Art Movie House – Cine Tonala. Roma Sur.
2. Food – Restaurant Zapote . Cuisine from Oaxaca .Roma Norte.
3. Food – Breakfast tacos . Taco’s Hola . Condessa .
4. El Cardenal – traditional Mexican breakfast and lunch – Centro Hostorico. We met for lunch here. Regional Mexican specialties. Popular with politicians and Mexican families.
5. Bar – La Botica . Downtown . Hotel Centro.
6. Quality Artasania – Fonart Stores .
7. Antiques -Mercado Langunilla ( Sunday’s ) La Langunilla .
8. Antiques – Plaza de Angel Antique Center ( Saturday’s )
9. Night Club – MN Roy. Roma
10. Best Gluten free breads & desserts . – Delicias Paleo . Roma Sur.
11. Favorite Local designers. – Varon. Clothing – Carla Fernandez 1/8 Takamura
12. Furniture – LunchStudio – Roma Norte
13. Best Chocolate from the country that gave the world Chocolate! – Casa Tropical by Hector Galvin – Polonco & Condessa.
Thank you, dear readers for following along on my journeys . I am so looking forward to a relaxing beach day in beautiful Puerto Vallarta!
Enjoy more photos from my trip to Mexico City.
Nina Goodhope Thanks for sharing this great article. I did see Village HOE which is a lot of fun.
Andrew Lee did you read this?