In 2020, as a celebration of the tenth anniversary of this famed dress, Benito Santos presents Musa #1, his Fall-Winter 2020 collection, and ode to his muse, Ximena Navarrete. 78 different ensembles make up this collection, all keeping the original red dress as an inspiration source. This collection brings forth many “firsts” for the designer. To start off, it is the first ready-to-wear collection he makes, joining other international brands which offer seasonal collections twice a year. As such, these designs will be readily available on his boutiques, select selling points and his new online store, setting them apart from his previous work which was all made on-demand. This brings Santos’ work closer to the international market and offer a unique opportunity to own one of his singular silhouettes each upcoming season.
It is also the first time he collaborates with the furrier house 9137, incorporating exquisite leather elements into the traditional style by the firm. The folkloric touches and reddish tones take a great presence in this collection, demonstrating a new freshness in the DNA of the design house.
Presented while the world traverses a difficult time, as the earlier months of 2020 have been marked by the impossibility of mass events, Benito Santos innovates by using his social media to bring his work to the public. Contributing to the stay at home initiative, Musa #1 was broadcasted through his Instagram account, a live transmission which takes the eyes from one outfit to the next without much effort.
This collection marks the first steps by Santos into the menswear world. Used to design for female figures, as his inspiration is usually the Mexican woman, the designer now decides to finally step into the masculine fashion industry, offering 15 new attires for men who desire to wear his work. While in past collections some masculine figures have appeared, this is the first time the pieces are available for purchase and everyday use.
Silhouettes are varied and distinct among them. They range widely from the exaggerated proportions to the carrot fit pants; each piece offers a new approach to the human figure. Each model’s waist is accentuated by the blazer and coat cut, while the shoulders are enlarged, sharpened by the rigid figure some of the overcoats produce.
The male line features different elements, among them one is especially notable, as it reminds of a loose robe. Bright red colour and delicate textile work, the sophisticate appearance and comfortable aura is unmatched. This is probably the best example of the use of knitting in the collection, a mainstay in many of the outfits as a new and never-before used element by Santos. It is also present in other clothes such as bright orange pullover sweater, one of the collections most remarkable items.
Another interesting piece in this menswear collection is a suit confectioned of checkered fabric, alternating deep red and pale pink, intervened with texturized applications, a most striking piece which promptly draws attention to itself. Also noteworthy is a full outfit in a black and red checkered pattern, its long overcoat reminiscent of elegance and mystery. Finally, a pants and blazer set crafted from a deep red velvet is one of the most astounding in the collection.
Some silhouettes stand out by using a modern take of a traditional Mexican sarape, a broad and thick piece of fabric for the colder environments. Here, a loose and fluid contour is mixed with bright colours and new ways to wear the accessory, creating interesting figures.
Easy to wear, Benito Santos complements his top tailoring with avant-garde fabrics of high sophistication. Some are traditional for him to use, such as tweed, tartan, satin, but others have been printed with intricate patterns, such as chiffon, taffeta and velvet. The printed patterns vary from the animal motifs to abstract figures which incite to think of the designer’s artistic vision. An exquisite game of texture and fabric, the prominent red inspiring the whole collection.
Colour is clearly very important in this collection and it’s a fundamental element on this concept. Benito Santos revisits the iconic red dress worn by Ximena Navarrete to win Miss Universe in 2010, a colour with a heavy and intricate history. “I chose to use red because in the early Independent Mexico, it symbolized the unity of our country”, states Santos. On the 200th anniversary of the Mexican Independence he used that colour in the famed dress, because “it is necessary, today more than ever, to stay together, wearing this colour as a symbol of our national pride and our solidarity”.
Benito Santos has consolidated himself as one of the most emblematic designers in Mexico, having his works worn on red carpets in international events such as the Cannes Film Festival and covering celebrities throughout the last decade. His commitment to high couture and his creative freedom, his inspiration taken directly from his Mexican roots and Mexican people are the elements which distinguish him and make him one of Latin America’s most versatile designers. Musa #1 represents his fascination for Ximena Navarrete, his original muse, and for his own evolution as an artist, now his genius is available to the male public, offering comfort and sophistication.