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Rebecca Minkoff's Mexican fiesta

A model walks the runway at the Rebecca

A model walks the runway at the Rebecca Minkoff Spring 2014 Runway Show in Collaboration with American Express UNSTAGED, Music by Janelle Monae during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at The Theatre at Lincoln Center in New York City. (Sept. 6, 2013) Credit: Getty Images for American Express

Rebecca Minkoff heads south of the border for spring, and she’s taking Janelle Monáe with her—yes, the pop rocker powered through some of her hits in a live performance at Minkoff’s show, dressed in bright white (white pants and a white button-down) with skinny black suspenders (and, of course, her signature pompadour).

For Monáe fans, the fun didn’t stop there. The songstress went on to do a Q/A interview with Minkoff and Kelly Osbourne—who’s looking glammier and glammier these days, even with the lavender hair—in a special appearance for American Express card members, who were ensconced in the hip Skybox above the runway. Not a bad perk. (My card just gets me airline miles.)

The runway, meanwhile, was a garden of color, Minkoff importing a slew of looks inspired by sunny Mexico and the Latin American ladies—Frida Kahlo, Bianca Jagger, Caroline Issa, Alice Dellal—who bring that style to life. Vibrant embroidery, laser-cut leather and muchos, muchos florals all played a part.

Now a tribute to Mexico could wind up a tad costumey—like one of those “Ethnic Heritage Days” in elementary school, where you dress up like you work at Epcot and bring in a batch of Mom’s tamales. But Minkoff saves it by infusing the collection with a sporty American aesthetic.

That means taking the vivid embroidery seen on shawls and tourist-trap tchotchkes and putting it on crewnecks, mesh-net sweaters and racer-back tanks; or laser-cutting neoprene; and revving up draped chiffon with racing stripes.

With such a smart mix of cultures, ummm, who needs NAFTA?

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