Katy Esquivel, whose videos have more than a million subscribers, likes to film among the vivid colonial buildings in a bohemian neighborhood in Lima.
The Barranco neighborhood in Lima, Peru, where colorful colonial buildings are coated with even more vibrant bougainvillea flowers, offers a bohemian escape from the city’s noisy traffic-stalled streets. “A lot of artists, writers, singers or any kind of people who like to perform or do creative things live here because the place gets you really inspired,” said Katy Esquivel, whose “What the Chic” video blog has more than a million subscribers. She was recently in the area wearing a matching floral print top and shorts with an orange clutch and a watch that is a family heirloom. “Me as a blogger, it is one of my favorite places to film because it complements my outfits,” Ms. Esquivel said. (This interview has been edited and condensed.)
YouTube fashion blogger
How do people dress in Lima?
I think people are very conservative, they aren’t too open-minded about what they wear because I think they are afraid of being criticized. However, I think that is going to change in a couple years.
Tell us about your vlog.
My YouTube channel is a little bit different from all the blogs. Usually when you visit a blog, someone is imposing their look, and they say, ‘O.K., this is my style, and if you like it, follow me, and if you don’t like it, don’t follow me.’ The Chic is more about how to dress your body, how to dress your skin type, what silhouette goes best with your body type. If you don’t feel comfortable with what you have and know how to work it out, then you will never look good.
Sergio Davila, a Peruvian national, has been up and coming in the New York fashion world. After graduating from Academy of Art University in 2002 and making a name for himself in San Francisco, he made his way to New York City.
By 2004 he opened his first high-end menswear store in the Nolita neighborhood of Manhattan. Since then, Davila’s work has graced three Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Weeks. By making a name for himself, he has also become Fashion Ambassador for the brand Peru by promoting the use of Peruvian textiles around the world. Splitting his time between New York and Lima, Sergio says he finds inspiration from both cities and almost everywhere in between!
Recently, the Embassy of Peru in Washington, DC held the event, Textile Diplomacy: Celebrating Peruvian Fashion Design & Educational Exchange, where I was able to catch up with the designer and ask him just how he got into the fashion world.
Over 200 guests comprised of textile industry experts, politicians, international trade policymakers, fashion media, global corporation representatives and distinguished guests sipped refreshing Macchu Pisco cocktails at the residence of Ambassador of Peru to the United States of America Luis Miguel Castilla.
The summer evening garden party, hosted in conjunction with the Peru’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur), celebrated the very best in Peruvian textiles and talent in fashion design.
In honor of President Barack Obama’s 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative, which focuses on dramatically increasing educational exchanges between the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean, four Peruvian students studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology were invited to showcase their work on statuesque pedestals dotting the residence’s lovely garden landscape.
Student designs by Mayra Vidaurre, Micaela Orellana, and Sen Carlos Zerpa Morioka drew admiring crowds munching on Peruvian savory bites from Peruvian Brothers, Del Campo and Sardi’s Manassas while Cristina Gonzales, a photography student, snapped away in her own artistic medium.
The main event featured renowned Peruvian designer, Sergio Davila, who glided through the crowds easily in one of his signature lightweight Lima-chic fitted suits. Sergio is quickly making his mark on the American fashion scene and was the first Peruvian to ever showcase at New York Fashion Week.
Guests previewed Sergio’s Spring/Summer 2016 collection which emphasized warm pastel colors and the natural textiles with an intelligent, chic style. They described the collection as energetic and as full of life, while also offering balance and perspective. Davila is well-known for his interpretation of sportswear sophistication doused with strong touches of warmth, using ultra-soft fabrics including pima cottons and baby alpaca blend with silk.
Prior to the show, master of ceremonies, Frances Holuba from the White House, presented the four FIT Peruvian students, who took their first steps on a professional fashion show catwalk.
Guests then heard from Juan Luis Reus, Director of Peru Trade, Tourism and Investment Office in Washington, D.C. as well as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson who was recently nominated by President Obama, to become the new U.S. ambassador to Mexico.
Ambassador Luis Miguel Castilla gave warm welcoming remarks, highlighting the increased engagement in recent months between the United States and Peru.
The fashion show is part of a year-long celebration of the vibrancy, history and biodiversity of Peru in Washington, D.C. It includes the public debut of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s newest Andean bear cubs, the opening of “The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire” exhibition at the National Museum of the American Indian and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
Pictures by: Peruvian Embassy in the U.S. and Patrick G. Ryan