Violet Heart is the third fashion exhibit conceived by fashion historian, professor and stylist Joseph D’Aponte in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Why is it a miracle? Perhaps it’s the fact that almost single handedly this fashion connoisseur and creator of the Puerto Rican Fashion History Council was able to make this happen. Or because it’s a proven fete getting anything done; especially after Maria, a hurricane category 4 that ripped the Carribean island apart. This however has not slowed down Mr. D’Aponte, nor puerto ricans, and their unquenchable desire to rebuild.
The exhibit will be on display on the second floor between Macy’s and JCPenney department stores until March 17, 2018.
Fashion designers such as Jaer Caban, Osvaldo Morales, Carlota Alfaro, Carlos Alberto, Luis Antonio, David Antonio, Miriam Budet, and Sonia Rivera, just to name a few, are part of this creative endeavor.
In Violet Heart there is a treasure trove of evening gowns, cocktail dresses that demonstrate who has talent and who doesnt.
An interesting selection of paintings, photography from local art gallery Petrus include works by celebrated painter Davila Rinaldi and the amazing photographer Rosario Fernandez. These share the stage and give continuity to a current conversation that enquiries if fashion is art, or should they stay side by side…
Making my way into Plaza las Americas Shopping Center nobody could imagine that four months ago this entire area was hit by the largest natural disaster ever recorded in this coveted tourist destination.
For the first time puerto rican fashion is being celebrated with its own exhibits. The idea came to D’Aponte hand in hand with the creation of the Puerto Rican History Fashion Council. “Even though fashion is of great interest and there is an array of very good designers and these receive constant media coverage, the truth of the matter is that local fashion has not been fully documented from a anthropological point of view, as let’s say local art, poetry, theater, or dance”.
To this the historian adds: “We want to write and document the story of Puerto Rican Fashion, its present, and especially its past”.
This is were these thematic fashion exhibits become relevant. The dress, trend and couture exhibit has become very popular around the world.
The Alexander McQueen show, or the recent Rei Kawakubo display at the MET have paved the way in making the dress exhibit a very relevant social window. Besides the fashion week events that have peeked and start to show a lack of interest due to the way they are actually presented, they too have served as an important stage for fashions actual relevance in society and consumerism.
D’Aponte who has worked in hundreds of fashion and beauty pagents throughout the island, is a teacher at fashion University EDP, and has styled for important local publications. He is also something of a tour de force and a survivor in a fickle, unprepared, underpaid, and over crowded local fashion industry that in many instances lacks know how, but at end of the day stands out; mainly thanks to people like Aponte.
Having said this the local fashion scene also stand out, because of an enormous amount of creative and talented individuals; these few make everything happen.
In the meantime Joseph works tirelessly, organizing the next fashion event and preparing the Fashion Councils next exhibit.
Personally, I left Violet Heart feeling that this young man serves as a sentinel of local fashion, as an author of relevant events, that hopefully will shape not only how fashion took place in the island, but how fashion will be perceived in Puerto Rico by puerto ricans and abroad.
Photos by Pedro Lazaro