¡Hola Chola! - in this way the Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci welcomed the fashion season F/W 2015-16 with his eccentric and fascinating collection, inspired by not so famous but quite influential style of Los Angeles gangsters "chola". Creating a great furore on PFW, Tisci breathed new life into this unusual style. But let's go back to its origins.
Initially, "chola" was a subculture of working-class immigrants from Mexico and their representatives of the civil rights movement (the Chicano Power movement), who lived in South and Central America in the 60's.
In course of time this movement was picked up by criminal youth with more aggressive mindset, who used it for self-identification.
Traditional elements of chola style for girls were: thin tattooed eyebrows, dark lipliner with lighter lipstick, cat eyeliner, high hairstyles with skyscraper bangs and kiss curls, lots of tattoos, face piercing, gold chains with crucifixes and other massive trinkets.
Gradually, from the urban culture of scanty means districts of Los Angeles and San Diego chola subculture became a mainstream, that first was picked up in pop culture (Fergie, Gwen Stefani), and then in fashion.
Before Givenchy, other famous brands as Rodarte and Nasir Mazhar experimented with this style in season S/S 2014, or DKNY in season S/S 2015. And Love Magazine made a thematic photosession, dedicated to chola.
But it was Riccardo Tisci, who more vividly presented this style on the already mentioned Givenchy fashion show F/W 2015-16. A well-known fan of Gothic with southern roots, in this collection he boldly combined two entirely different in time Victorian and Chola styles, creating his own "Victorian Chola Girl".
While Tisci was responsible for the clothing component, the famous British makeup artist Pat McGrath achieved a mixture of styles using extravagant Victorian jewellery and facial adornments and the Italian hairstylist Luigi Murenu created intricately braided loops and gelled baby hairs, curled around the models’ faces in "kiss curls", which referred to a style traditionally worn by chola girls.
By the way, those septum piercing and baby hairs trend quite possibly were inspired by the British singer FKA Twigs, born Tahliah Debrett Barnett, famous for her slicked-down baby hairs and undeniably powerful music.
Chola style also left a notable mark in Ukraine. The music video of the famous Ukrainian rock band The Hardkiss "Tony, Talk!" is fully imbued with Mexican atmosphere. And the chola style appearance of the characters was created by the talented fashion duo - stylists Slava Chaika and Vitaliy Datsyuk.
As we can see, chola culture is very distinctive. It's a storehouse of inspiration, whether you'll choose original chola style, unique and fascinating looks of FKA Twigs or Riccardo Tisci's vision. Just take hair gel, a comb and dare to try it! ;)