By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
For years — 131 years, to be exact — Palacio de Hierro (which was originally known as Las Fábricas de Francia) has been the gold standard of haute couture in Mexico, offering the finest styles from Europe and the rest of the world, while at the same time promoting and showcasing up-and-coming national designers.
Even for those whose pocketbooks don’t allow for purchases at the upscale department store, Palacio de Hierro has always been the signature last word on fashion in Mexico, synonymous with chic and elegance.
But now, the country’s premiere department store has taken its association with vogue to a new level, transforming a section of its flagship store in downtown Mexico City (an architectural wonder in its own right) into a pop-up museum on the history of fashion as defined by women.
A new exhibit, appropriately titled “Mujeres en la Moda” (“Women in Fashion”), now on display on the Palacio de Hierro Centro’s top floor, depicts in photographs, videos, garments and accessories how women — both in Mexico and abroad — slowly but surely usurped the fashion industry, once the sole realm of men, to reflect their own styles and needs.
The exhibit, which will remain on display through Oct. 30, and is open to the public free of charge during Palacio working hours, includes examples of creations by women dating back to the 1940s that revolutionized the fashion industry, from Coco Chanel’s little black dress and 2.55 handbag to Anne Klein’s no-frills business suits.
In addition to the exhibit, Palacio de Hierro is sponsoring a series of fashion-oriented seminars every Saturday at 5 p.m. through Oct. 29 inside the restaurant next to the exhibit on the downtown store.
The seminars are open to everyone free of charge.
Palacio de Hierro Centro is located at 20 de Noviembre 3, on the corner of Venustiano Carranza, in Mexico City’s Centro Histórico