9 Inspiring Latino Designers Slaying the Fashion World
By Liz Calvario
From the late, great Oscar de la Renta, to the sophisticated Carolina Herrera and the groundbreaking Manolo Blahnik, Latino designers have always had a place in fashion, contributing stunning works of arts that have been admired by many around the world. As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, which is recognized from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, ET is paying tribute to the generations of talented Hispanics minds who have enriched the creative arts.
Here are nine inspiring Latino designers who are currently slaying the fashion world!
The Chilean-born designer is celebrating her label Zero + Maria Cornejo's 20th anniversary this year. Known for her simplicity and minimalism, Cornejo's designs evoke an ease and freedom that she's perfected since opening her atelier and store, Zero, in 1998. Cornejo's designs feature sculptural silhouettes, long and minimal draped dress, coats and skirts, with a neutral palate and bold colors, mixed with elegant and simple prints -- and a love for black and white.
Cornejo's resume includes designing for Fiorucci and working as a creative consultant for major retailers such as Joseph, Tehen and Jigsaw. She's also been part of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) since 2003 and is an original member of the CFDA Sustainability Committee. The fashion designer has also been fortunate enough to dress First Lady Michelle Obama, Tilda Swinton, Sanaa Lathan, Marisa Tomei and many other A-listers.
The Cuban-American designer, who hails from Miami, is one half of Proenza Schouler. Hernandez began honing his craft by studying fashion at Parsons School of Design in New York where he met Jack McCollough -- in 2002, the pair worked on their thesis collection together. Their creations were bought entirely by Barneys New York, thus creating Proenza Schouler. The following year, the duo won the 2003 Swarovski award for Ready to Wear at the CFDA Awards and have since earned the 2009 Accessory Designer of the Year award and the Womenswear Designer of the Year award in 2007, 2011 and 2013. The label is best known for its unique proportions, funky silhouettes, detailing and youthful patterns.
Isabel Toledo is a Cuban-born designer who moved to New York at a young age and trained at Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons School of Design in New York. She presented her first collection in 1985 and has since collaborated with her husband, Ruben Toledo, on special one-of-a-kind looks. Isabel designs feature exuberant prints, bold colors and classic feminine silhouettes.
In 2014, Toledo was nominated for a Tony Award in the Best Costume Design in a Musical category for her work in After Midnight and also designed a plus-size line for Lane Bryant. Some of Toledo's greatest professional moments include designing a yellow wool lace shift dress with matching overcoat which then-First Lady Michelle Obama wore to her husband's first inauguration.
The Spanish-born designer is the founder of Custo Barcelona, created in 1996. His creations are known for being full of fun and flirty graphics, mixed prints, colors of all sorts and bright materials and fabrics. One of Dalmau’s aims has always been to have people recognize and identify his designs without having to see the label. Initially only designing printed tops and t-shirts inspired by the looks of Californian surfers, he went on to create a full range of women and men’s clothing lines, as well as accessories and shoes.
Dalmau's flirty and fresh style has caught the eyes of many fashion insiders, including Jennifer Lopez, who recently wore his colorful creations in her “Ni Tu Ni Yo” music video. His latest 2018 Spring collection was shown this month at New York Fashion Week and featured an array of tropical and earthy tones mixed with fabrics of all types.
Ángel Sánchez has a way of making women feel empowered and beautiful in his gorgeous gowns. The designer began his career in Caracas, Venezuela, in the '90s, first studying architecture before deciding to embark on a career in fashion. Sánchez is known for his elegant and ethereal feminine designs, which feature exotic structures, as well as traditional and classic looks. He also enjoys experimenting with various textures and fabrics, combining different materials to create one-of-a-kind ensembles. He recently expanded into a bridal collection that is every bit as stunning as his previous work.
The Ecuadorian-born designer isn't afraid to take risks with her Ready-to-Wear and Evening collections, commanding elegance through sexy and strong silhouettes, bold and rich colors and classic lines. Cadena takes risks with complex embroidery, hand beading and cutout gowns that show just the right amount of skin.
Jennifer Lopez, Carrie Underwood and Hailey Baldwin are among the celebs who have wowed in Cadena's designs -- and who can forget Camila Alves' stunning pale pink cape dress at the 2015 Oscars?
The Puerto Rican designer is known for her lush, embellished, detailed designs and her artisan handwork. Nolasco prides herself on her delicate beading, hand-stitching and ornate fabrics that evoke her native country's unique aesthetic. The designer was chosen to participate in the fashion program at SACI School of Art in Italy and has shown her stunning collections at Fashion Weeks in Paris and New York.
Nolasco, whose home was affected by the recent hurricane, continues to design custom-made evening wear for clients and has previously had Beyonce, Eva Longoria and Dascha Polanco wear her designs.
Rafael Cennamo credits his Venezuelan and Italian heritage as inspiration for his eye-catching, elaborate and elegant ensembles. Since creating his label in 2006, Cennamo has caught the attention of many celebrities, including Julianne Hough, Jada Pinkett Smith and Katy Perry, who have all worn his designs on the red carpets. The Venezuelan-born designer is known for using bold colors, edgy structures and shapes.
Among his most recognized designs is the stunning over-the-top burgundy gown Carrie Underwood wore during her performance at the 44th annual Academy Of Country Music Awards.
Johana Hernandez is the founder of GLAUDI, a Los Angeles-based fashion company that specializes in haute couture dresses and bridal gowns. The designer's passion for fashion began at a young age after her parents, Jose and Gladis Hernandez, moved to the U.S. from El Salvador and worked in sweat jobs. At the age of 19, Hernandez got her first job as a head designer. At 22, she took on that same role at Seven7 Jeans and has since designed for Isaac Mizrahi Jeans, Eli Tahari, Hannah Montana license, Disney license and more.
Now with GLAUDI, Hernandez is focused on creating unique and memorable gowns to make all types of women feel beautiful and confident. Among the celebrities who have donned Hernandez's designs include Mexican singers Paulina Rubio, Gloria Trevi and Lucero.