La Paz, Oct 5 (EFE).- Six “cholitas,” the emblematic indigenous Aymara women, will model a collection of typical skirts (or “polleras”), shawls, bowler hats and jewels made by Bolivian designer Ana Palza in a fashion show organized by the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art in Paris.
The show will take place on Oct. 15 in a party hall that Bolivian architect Freddy Mamani, one of the founders of the “cholet” architectural style, is building at the Cartier Foundation.
Palza told EFE that the cholitas will model 42 different outfits created specifically for the event.
“This is something incredible and wonderful for them. They will arrive in Paris to show off their culture, their personality and their clothing,” Palza said.
“We have worked for more than six months to be able to present these 42 outfits,” she said.
Palza pointed out that the jewels, including rings, earrings and shawl brooches, were designed to reflect the architecture of Mamani’s party hall.
The models and the designer will also take part in the inauguration of Mamani’s cholet, as well as in a “challa,” a Mother Earth offering ceremony.
“I am very proud because women who wear polleras were previously always overlooked,” Wara Montes, a 20-year-old model, told EFE while taking makeup classes with her fellow models.
Montes said she never imaged modelling in one of the world’s fashion capitals, and she hoped to be up to the task.
Zulema Calle, a 24-year-old model, said this was an opportunity to showcase her culture and roots, as her mother and grandmother also wear the typical cholita outfit.
“I am taking what is in my blood, what is ours,” she said.
Lizzeth Pajsi, another 24-year-old model, said she was very excited and happy about the opportunity to take part in the Paris fashion show, adding that she was eager to show off the shawls made of llama wool and the typical cholita bowler hats.
In 2013, a municipal law declared the cholita outfit an intangible cultural heritage of the city of La Paz, as it is “the clearest embodiment of the indigenous-mestizo cultural fusion, which was developed since colonial times and has maintained some indestructible elements of identity and individuality.”