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Purple Fashion #36

Purple Magazine — The Mexico Issue #36 F/W 2021

First, to remain free. but also to intensify life. to blur the opposition between life and death, between past and future. to discover new sensations and new alternatives. this is the effect Mexico has on you when you dive into this surreal country and its magnetic culture. Mexico has always been a place to escape, to disappear, to die, but also to live again. in a period of global control and social conformity, Mexico is a powerful source of creativity, surprise, psychomagic, cosmic sensations, and time-travel. this vast country, a place of danger and beauty, is full of contrasts. with 69 indigenous languages and every variety of landscape — mountains, jungles, beaches, deserts — it’s one of the most biodiverse places on earth, with ancestral civilizations that have survived after centuries of conquest and cultural domination. with its rich traditions and fascinating history, from pre-hispanic times to today, Mexico is also a paradigm of resilience.

The country and its people lived through the devastation of colonization, then experienced multiple economic crises, systemic corruption, racism, classism, and criminal american policing of its borders, as well as two recent earthquakes, a raging drug war called the “theater of terror,” and the pandemic — without closing its frontiers a single day. its resistance should be an inspiration to us all.

Mexico is truly another world, now celebrating the resurgence of pre-hispanic culture. it’s a labyrinth of signs and languages, an explosion of color, a chaotic assemblage of architecture, and a singular artistic sensibility.

Mexico has always opened its doors to the world. countless artists, writers, political figures, and refugees from the us, europe, and latin America have escaped there. André Breton, the leader of the french surrealist movement, visiting in 1938, became fascinated by the country’s mythological past, writing that “this power of conciliation of life and death is without a doubt the principal characteristic that Mexico offers. it keeps an open record of endless sensations, from the most benign to the most insidious.” Salvador Dalí, after a short visit, concluded: “there is no way i’m going back to Mexico. i can’t stand to be in a country that is more surrealist than my paintings.” for a decade now, Mexico has been going through a renaissance, becoming a crossroads that attracts creative communities from everywhere.

I’ve visited Mexico many times, but for this issue, we decided to set up an office in the heart of Mexico city. it was a way to connect with the art scene, to meet Mexican artists, designers, photographers, and models, and to explore this baroque world from within, to see how this radiant country is widening its influence. we featured key protagonists
of the art, fashion, and lgbt scenes, who are already part of the international context. we traveled to the desert in the sacred region of Wirikuta, to the tropical coastline on the pacific. we trekked into maya country in search of unearthed palaces. in Oaxaca, we did a fashion shoot with the muxes. we also photographed many architectural masterpieces.

We wanted to capture in essays and interviews Mexico’s resistance to colonization, macho culture, ecocide, and gore capitalism. above all, we wanted to embrace the wild beauty of a country that simply cannot be captured in a single issue.

— Olivier Zahm