South of the Border | Andrea Clark - Style Council

- April 26, 2017

With Mexico literally a hop, skip, and a jump away from Santa Fe, many products, apparel, and gift items make their way to the region—and influence Santa Fe’s iconic home décor and fashion sensibility. With Cinco de Mayo—a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage—right around the corner, let’s take a look at how to jump start your fiesta. (Historical point: Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day, which falls on Sept. 16. Instead it commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.)

Array (322 South Guadalupe), an eclectic gift and home décor shop that relocated from the Design Center into a spacious locale near downtown last June, offers a mix of beautiful, quirky, and luxurious items for home and personal use. The Style Council spied piñata placemats by Hester and Cook ($27) that are bound to set the perfect tone for “la noche” of fun.

For 27 years, ¡Mira! (101 W. Marcy) has provided an abundance of apparel and gifts that skew toward a Mexican and Mexican-inspired flavor. Owner Kathy Mahone took over the helm from the original owner four years ago and says that choosing the merchandise is a labor of love. The word she favors for the store’s aesthetic is whimsy, and claims that ¡Mira! is a state of mind. “If it makes me smile I’m drawn to it and think my customers will be too.” Labor intensive wooden hearts decorated with hundreds of hand-nailed milagros are quite popular and come in three sizes. These folk art creations ($46 - $128) are the work of artisans in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Blank cards that feature embellished El Dia de Los Muertos-inspired images are a perfect “gracias” for a party host ($6). And vibrant multicolor Mexican papel picado banners (cut outs in paper or plastic) are an ideal way to decorate for the celebration as well.

Any trip to Stephen’s A Consignment Gallery (2701 Cerrillos Rd.) is cause for celebration, but honing in on wares from Mexico is an especially fun experience. Owner Stephen Etre graciously provides an overview. “Right now we have a really strong collection of Mexican fine artists including work by Siqueiros ($48K) and Carlos Mérida ($30K).” He also points out a wonderful bronze by Felipe Casteñda ($10K). For more everyday purchases he mentions Mexican pottery paper mache Day of the Dead items, and painted folk art ceramic figurines by Josephina Aguilar and her extended family (priced around $60), who are noted for being on the International Folk Art Festival Market circuit. In addition, a number of vintage sombreros ($95 - $145) would enliven any abode. Etre is especially excited about a contemporary collection of jewelry by Sergio Gomez that he recently acquired. He says it is unprecedented in terms of the quality and scope of available pieces. He adds that he also has quite a bit of Margot de Taxco (a groundbreaking silversmith from Taxco) and William Spratling silver jewelry available.

For Mexican flair to wear, make tracks to Onyx (209 W. San Francisco) where you’ll find a selection of Manos Zapotecas bags from a group of artisans living in Oaxaca, Mexico. These fair trade and handmade purses and satchels ($100-$450) feature wool weavings and leather. Just arrived in store in April, store employees say they are generating quite a bit of attention.