Unknown designer, Mexico
CFTC #494, #506
Gift of Beulah Blackmore
Initially worn by working class women in the city of Pueblo, the china poblana emerged as an expression of Mexican nationalism in the nineteenth century. This was in part due to the women who wore the ensemble while openly opposing the French invasion of 1861. Their actions led the china poblana to become a national symbol. This particular ensemble consists of an embroidered peasant-style blouse worn with a heavily and colorfully decorated ankle-length skirt and rebozo (shawl). Initially, Mexican women would wrap the skirt of the china poblana around their bodies. However, the introduction of European tailoring in the sixteenth century transformed the enredo (wrap-around skirt), which is now gathered and tied at the waist. Today, the china poblana is worn by Mexican folkloric dance troupes for special occasions. The ensemble Blackmore collected encapsulates the ways in which the china poblana has been used as a national symbol. Embroidered on the front of the wool skirt is the Mexican coat of arms that features a Mexican eagle devouring a rattlesnake while perched on a prickly pear cactus.
MADE IN MEXICO: The Rebozo in Art, Culture & Fashion, a museum exhibition on display at the Fashion + Textiles Museum in London in 2014.
In this series of live fashion events held by the V&A, Carla Fernández showcases her latest work in the fashion show, Fashion & Resistance, that draws from her Mexican heritage as well as her commitment to decolonization, intersectionality and social justice.
The following link illustrates the work of Indigenous Mexican fashion designer, Carla Fernández.
Davis, V. (2005). The china poblana. In M.B. Schevill (Ed.), Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion: Latin America and the Caribbean (pp. 66–71). Oxford: Bloomsbury Academic.