When Gypsy Sport designer Rio Uribe moved from New York back to his hometown Los Angeles in 2019, he never dreamed it would take two years to get back to showing on the runway.
“I spent 15 years in New York and came back to spend time with family and reconnect with my roots. But I definitely was not expecting a pandemic,” said the designer, a 2015 CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund winner. “We had this show scheduled for March 2019.”
Two years later, Uribe presented his spring 2022 collection in L.A. at long last on Sunday night, at the Petersen Automotive Museum that helped inspire it.
True to Gypsy Sport form, the show blasted any preconceived notions of gender and sexuality with a cast representing the range of diversity within the Latine community.
In this season of reflection on American style, Uribe’s spirited lineup of glam streetwear celebrated Chicano culture’s contributions, with baggy satin pants and bum-revealing lowrider denim; doily lace-trimmed sports jerseys and oversize sequin hoodies; polka dot pinup dresses, and Pachuco style suits — all worn with tricked-out Nike sneakers.
“I thought this was a great chance for me to focus on my Hispanic heritage. I’m a Chicano and the casting and collection are inspired by that,” said Uribe, whose deconstructed American flag pole dancer look is part of the “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
But this collection was all L.A., starting with the inspiration: the famous Gypsy Rose lowrider car Uribe first saw at the Petersen in 2018. The pink-and-chrome beauty created by Jesse Valdez has been called the Mona Lisa of the custom car culture that grew out of Southern California. The 1964 Chevy Impala also gained fame in the opening credits of ’70s TV series “Chico and the Man.”
The car’s rose painted details made their way onto a fun vinyl bubble cape, while airbrushed hearts added whimsy to a sweetheart pink tweed jacket and zip-front miniskirt suit. Uribe introduced several lowrider bomber jackets, which looked cool, as did a button-down shirt and boxer shorts in a Virgin Mary print.
Uribe will release a capsule collection with the Petersen Museum, following one he’s doing with the Met. “I’ve learned that museum shops are my outlet, whereas department stores might not take a chance on me. People attending museums are more avant-garde and more interested in artistic pieces,” he said.
Working now in L.A., Uribe follows in the footsteps of another trailblazing designer: Mexican American Louis Verdad. “I looked up to him,” Uribe said. “There could be a lot more of us. There is so much talent here and there are not enough Chicano and Mexican American people in fashion in general. I’m going to try to change that.”