A Living Legend's Last (Mexico)

A Living Legend's Last (Mexico)


  • From The Oaxaca Collection.
  • Handmade in the Valles Centrales of Oaxaca, Mexico. 
  • Cherry red cotton dress, heavily embroidered with multicolor silk thread and hand-crocheted finish that took many months to make. 
  • One size (S/M), hits above the ankles, cap sleeves. Model (aka Jess) is 5’7”, size 2-4 in dresses. 

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The thing is, there is really no way I can put a price on this dress that matches its worth. So, to whomever buys this: just promise me that you’ll love it forever. This is one of only a few remaining pieces made by a legendary embroiderer from the Oaxaca Valley, whose artistic merit has drawn acclaim around the world. Her advancing age has slowed her down just a little over the recent years. Her daughter lovingly joked it takes her years to make a dress these days. But hey, she’s got other things to do, like teaching the next generation of embroiders her revered technique. 

The Maestra and I just so happened to cross paths while she still had a few pieces left. This was the only dress left, and the only piece that would fit someone about my size. And it’s fire engine red, so it’s got that going for it.

This form of embroidery is known as “hazme si puedes,” which translates to “make me if you can,” connoting the level of skill and difficulty required to realize each piece. And in a village famous for its tauntingly difficult embroidery work, she stands above them all. You can see her signature pansies woven into the floral motif on this dress. Each pansy is a different color and, even within each pansy, there are many colors. This silk floral motif covers the entire yoke and sleeve areas, and also rings the dress about three quarters of the way down. I also love the line of embroidered flowers down the center in the front. There is, of course, the line of little people woven below the collar/yoke area, which is a traditional signature for embroidery work coming from this area and which, I am told, is very difficult to make. And don’t forget the very fine, hand-crocheted trim around the collars and sleeves, also in red.

When asked, she couldn't even remember how much time it took to embroider, but figured at least three months, if she was working all day, every day. 

Another example of her embroidery on a blouse, as well as a photo of her naughty dog, Chester, just because:

Made in the classic “Mexican Wedding Dress” style for which this village is known, I would certainly wear this to a wedding and, if I wasn’t already married, would certainly consider wearing it as the bride in a more bohemian ceremony (of which I had one). It's a one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime kind of piece.