At the age of just 15 Eva Peron moved to the city of Buenos Aires in Argentina (also known as the Paris of South America) to live her dreams as an actress. It was here that she fell in love with Juan Peron, who became President of Argentina a year after they were married. She was an inspirational and powerful woman. Starting off as an actress, her links with politics soon led her to successfully push for a woman's right to vote and the legalisation of divorce. She particularly specialised in helping the poor classes, spending millions to improve their lives.
She is also inspirational in the fashion world. Similar to Gabrielle Chanel, Eva was one of the first Argentine women to wear trousers in public. What she was most known for, however, was that she wore clothes designed by some of the world's most influential designers. As Eva did so much work for the lower classes, apparently many designers would hide the fact they designed for her, worrying that this would annoy some of their most elite clients.
She was loved and loathed in Argentina. Some of the upper class thought of her as a hypocrite "for wearing Dior and diamonds whilst allying with the poor". However, the majority of the lower classes found her an inspiration with her "rags to riches" story.
After her premature death in 1952, Eva Peron still has influence over the fashion industry. A 2010 collection by Jorge Ibanez was inspired by Evita; with fabulous ball gowns, hats, diamonds and lookalike models. The whole show oozed Eva's glamour, and there was even a dramatic ending. Valeria Lynch, the first Argentine singer to play Eva Peron in Andrew Lloyd-Webber's musical production 'Evita' sang 'Don't Cry for Me Argentina' on a balcony overlooking the catwalk - wearing an Ibanez suit of course.
Eva Peron is definitely my favourite icon of past times, as I admire her dedication to society and the fashion industry. Upon being asked what he would have designed for Eva if she were still alive today, Ibanez replied without hesitation "I would have made her a black velvet dress with a touch of crystals. It would have been fantastic." A dress which I believe sounds the epitome of early 20th century glamour.
|Jorge Ibanez himself with models from his 'Evita 2010 Collection'|