One of our experts interviewed the artist who, many years ago, baptized this original tonality -which goes from fuchsia to intense pink- and that today we distinguish “like from Mexico” in towns and
Every day, this tone makes our lives happy. We find it present in wooden toys, woven baskets, paper placemats, scrapes, all kinds of textiles, amate paper; in typical sweets such as sugar skulls from days of the dead, meringues, cotton candy and sweet bread; in traditional costumes, quinceanera and graduation dresses; in the houses adorned with bougainvillea; in the blankets and plastics of the markets on wheels; even in the great architectural works of Ricardo Legorreta and Luis Barragán.
The encounter with the artist
About 18 years ago, I was sent from the unknown Mexico magazine to photograph some cave paintings in the municipality of Santa María Huatulco. The then director of Tourism, Ramón Valdiosera, a strong defender of the national culture and its traditions, had notified
this finding to the magazine, inviting us to go on a report and that is how I arrived in Santa María Huatulco.
There I met Ramón, a renowned painter, writer, lm and theater director, comic strip artist and fashion designer – with whom I established a great friendship for many years to this day. To my surprise, in one of many talks about the cultural riches of our country, he told me that he was the one who had baptized the Mexican pink color. «Look, Alfredo, just as you like to travel around our country, I also went to travel throughout Mexico, interested in researching Mexican clothing and formed a large collection of costumes and dresses. My interest was to understand fashion as an integral discipline between art, anthropology, and history. My idea was to adapt the Mexican clothing of our ethnic groups such as huipiles, quechequémitl, and fabrics to contemporary fashion “.
Part of a registered trademark
“When I returned to Mexico City,” Ramón continued, “I set up a
workshop where he spread large rolls of cloth and painted them
by hand with motifs of popular art and pre-Hispanic culture.
During a walkway in Cuernavaca, in 1946, I met the then-presidential candidate, Miguel Aleman, to whom I showed him my creations and told him my ideas about creating a Mexican fashion of his own that would reflect our identity, and so, during his government, he supported me to travel around the world showing my collections and promoting the image of Mexico as a country that entered into modernity “.
“In 1949 I presented a fashion show at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York – which amazed me – where I presented the Pink in my designs, then journalists asked me about the origin of that color, to which I responded: this color is part of the Mexican culture.
This is how Valdiosera and Mexico gave this color to the whole world and that today is still part of our identity, it is even present in the official tourism logo of the Mexico® brand.
What few know of this story is that on the same date, on May 6, 1949, in which Ramón Valdiosera had that parade in New York, in the Lacandon Jungle took place the fateful expedition to Bonampak by Carlos Frey (discoverer of the archaeological site together with Giles Healy, in April 1946), where he and the plastic artist Franco Lázaro Gómez ( Chiapa de Corzo, 1920) lost their lives drowned. In this adventure, two artists of the moment also participated, the painter Raúl Anguiano and the photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo. Frey himself had invited Ramón as a cartoonist to document it, but Valdiosera replied: “I can not go, I have a fashion show in New York and besides, I can not swim!”. This is how even being in the United States, he learned of that fatal accident. It was already written in the
the destination that the Mexican Pink would have to go around the
The pink and Valdiosera today
At more than 90 years old, he continues to create and work. In 1992 he published the book 3,000 years of Mexican Fashion; and in 2009 he had an exhibition at the Casa del Lago called, precisely, Rosa Mexicano.
After knowing this story 18 years ago, I was attracted by this color that brings joy to the lives of Mexicans and foreigners.
There is no lack of the American who buys the Mexican pink charro hat to hang it in his house or, to be photographed with the burros-zebra of Tijuana, so whenever I find a scene with this color, I take the photo.
A Pink that, in its abstraction, perfectly defines the Mexican being.
Colors have a strange power over men. Fashion, which among many other elements draws on color, is also capable of having a powerful impact; Through it, as a cultural expression, various changes can be promoted in the psyche of a population, this includes the appreciation of a country and its culture.
Since 1949s, the shade of pink that we know as “Mexican Pink” has been an important symbol of Mexico because, together with other elements of our culture, it helped to create at that time an identity of its own. Even today, in our country, it is easy to find this tone everywhere, a kind of intense magenta color that floods the streets and objects of cities and towns -from toys and accessories in the markets to houses covered in clumps of pink flowers and some of our most precious architectural works.
With regard to the process of creating the Mexican identity and its cultural expressions, for decades governments have participated in campaigns focused on the formation of a national identity. Miguel Alemán, for example, planned a program to spread Mexican culture during his tenure, and together with Ramón Valdiosera, they used fashion to promote tourism in our country. When receiving great support from the government, the Mexican Pink became emblematic of Mexico, and very popular abroad. At the same time, the “doctrine of Mexicanness” emerged, which gave rise to several projects to encourage nationalism through culture.
This is how “Mexican Pink” was born, thanks to Valdiosera, a designer who was inspired by several ethnic groups of our country and the color of the bougainvillea. In 1949 this creator presented one of his collections in a parade in New York. This one impacted both the spectators and the press who, interested in the palette of the collection, asked him how he had conceived his creations; He explained that the preponderant color of his designs, the bold and intense pink, was a characteristic color of Mexican culture. This is how a journalist in the United States baptized the color as Mexican pink.
Having managed to condense the Mexican culture in one color and use the clothing to present the country’s wealth, Valdiosera was very successful, and from that moment the “Mexican Pink” began to be used profusely, especially in what was believed typical of Mexico: ornaments in dresses, logos of establishments, skulls of sugar, paper cut and, later, the first line of the meter of the CDMX.
It is the impact of this color in our culture and its most autochthonous expressions, that architects like Ricardo Legorreta and Luis Barragán have used this tonality to endow their buildings with a Mexican essence . A few years ago, the Mexican rose also became the standard tone of Mexico City, where this color is not only found in art and clothing but also in
its taxis, credentials, offices and official documents, making it clear that If there is a color that can unite us and make us proud of what we are, this vibrant rose that emulates the flowers and art of our beautiful country.