Could I Have Known that Colombia Would have Great Fashion Designers? Barbara Kingstone September 15, 2018 Colombia, Fashion Forward My guide Lizette, had taken me to a block filled with boutiques in Bogota and from what I saw in the various store windows, I wanted to go into them all. But time was limited so I chose one. Never did I expect to drop some pesos so quickly but truly there was one designer that I continued to unintentionally and unknowingly take off the rack. One just caught my eye. I was truly in love with a particular dress and the price range was great. But it was sold. As it happened the designer just happened to be at the boutique, Julieta Suarz, and we had a fine time discussing her unusual but wearable clothing. (another favorite but much more pricey is the next door boutique…St.Dom) “Never mind”, the designer told me, “I’ll make another.” I asked if she could add another layer to the already short-sleeved dress. “Not a problem and it’s a great idea”, she answered And then it seemed too short for a woman of ‘un certain age’. “Not to worry. Although it’s cut on the bias, I can make it longer”, she answered. Ms. Cabrales, the designer, is not slim but she wears her clothing so very well. Usually her designs are loose fitting or A-line. I can’t say that these designs would work for #JLo or #Madonna but they are definitely for women who want a twist to the classics and also great for business dames. A terrific, light coat on the rack for fall, was in pink and form fitting with great seaming on the back. But I was leaving for Cartagena the next day. “Not a problem,” said Ms. Cabrales . Then yet another item that was great was a light cotton jacket, rough-edged, keeping with the fashion of this season and with what looked like several layers but was really one that had been stitched and gathered to look like three. It was customer-friendly boutique, handling everything I had asked for. Sure enough, on the day promised, a parcel arrived from Bogota to the reception desk at the hotel where I was staying (that was another wonderful discovery: Casa Pestagua). It was perfect but it was sooo very hot and humid that I never had the opportunity to don this wonderful creation until I returned home. Bogota was too chilly and Cartagena too humid. In Cartagena, just at the end of Santo Domingo, is an internationally known designer: Silvia Tcherassi. Her designs are quite different from those of Cabrales. They are very colourful and her fabrics are the finest. Tcherassi’s eponymous shop is airy, contemporary and large. Wide pants comes with a smaller top; both in hot colours but unmatched yet co-ordinated. Colombians love colour and they wear it well. And she must be doing very well since she opened an hotel in Cartagena, the Tcherassi Hotel. While I was in the store a few trendy, obviously wealthy, young women walked in. They were known by the sales staff and shown samples of the newest collection. Taut, some muscular, but well -toned bodies seemed to be the bottom line (no pun intended) for most women who wear these designs. Colombian women work out constantly. Tcherassi’s designs seem to be designed for them since many are fitted, cinched, body-fitted. So two top designers in a country that loves fashion. What a surprise for me.