Ramón Valdiosera, A Life

When watching films like “Coco” or seeing displays of Mexican art, a pink tone stands out; this pink tone composed of purplish tones, similar to the color fuchsia, has ties to Ozuluama, Veracruz, Mexico. Its designer was inspired by the religious festivals that happened twice a year and were full of color and tradition. The festivals honored San José and the patroness of the town called “Our Lady of the Assumption.”[1] Even more exciting than the festivals that were held in Ozuluama was the impact they had in the emergence of a famous designer. His name was Ramón Valdiosera and he was born on April 28, 1918 in Ozuluama, Veracruz, Mexico.

Ramón Valdiosera’s talent was apparent at a young age. His artistic skills were seen at nineteen when he displayed his artwork of bull fights at Anderson Hall on November 20, 1936.[2] Sixteen years later, the stylishness of his work in Mexico City would bolster him in the Mexican fashion world as a fashion stylist. Moreover, once he came to the United States, the American fashion industry became aware of him. Some of the fashion pieces that made him famous were influenced by the Native Americans, Mayan, and Toltec civilizations.

On May 6, 1949, Ramón Valdiosera created a new color and associated it with the Mexican culture. This color, “Rosa Mexicana,” started a new craze for fashionistas. The moment that this color became associated with Mexico, it was used in everything such as, “ornaments in dresses, logos of establishments, skulls of sugar, paper cut and, later, the first line of the meter of the CDMX.”[3] The inspiration of this new color was founded by the various fashions that Valdiosera saw in postmodern cultures that were in Mexico. His creativity motivated him to show the world that Mexico was modernizing, and the best way to do that was to create fashionable designs that would be unlike anything anyone had ever seen. Ramón Valdiosera did not just stop at fashion though; he went on to make movies and write books.

Ramón Valdiosera showcased his designs in several films with ties to the Mexican culture and tradition. He made the outfits in the films Asesinos, S.A. (1957), Nos veremos en el cielo (1956), and Cuando lloran los valientes (1947) [4]. He worked on the outfits for another movie in 1957 called The Living Idol, a horror movie. This movie experienced much technical difficulty in the early stages of filming. Albert Lewin, the producer of the film, wrote that “because of enormous technical obstacles, the eighteen-second sequence in the Pyramid at Chichén Itzá took four days to film.” [5] The best example of Valdiosera’s work from the film can be seen in an image displaying a woman tied upon an x-shaped pillar with a jaguar attacking. This image occurred at Chichén Itzá in a pyramid. Furthermore, this movie was based on a horror and supernatural suspense that involved a jaguar. Ramón Valdiosera displayed this suspense with the creation of his outfits by making them seemed ragged and barbaric.

It was during his career as a fashion designer that he became involved in the design of a postage stamp of Memín Pinguín, who was a comic book character. Memín is a “wisecracking kid whose smarts help get his friends out of sticky situations, but drawn with dark skin, thick lips and bulging eyes.”[6] Most of his adventures are based upon “adolescent misadventures” that are highly popular among the “rich and poor of all ages.”[7] Ramón Valdiosera helped to design the character Memín Pinguín to honor the comic book character. Unfortunately, many African Americans viewed the comic character on the postage stamp as racist. Due to the outrage from African Americans in the United States, it was decided that the cartoon character was not offensive and would be left alone. While being occupied with the creation of the Memín Pinguín stamp, he opened Estudios América, which was a place where new draftsmen could mimic the American comic industry. It would be from this place that great cartoonists would arise, such as artists Ángel Mora and Antonio Gutiérrez.[8]

Ramón Valdiosera’s legacy in the fashion world and the spread of Mexican culture is extensive. He created a clothing line called “Maya de México”[9] that enabled him to open fourteen stores. Twice in 2009, he was honored for his contribution to the fashion industry and world. After leaving the fashion industry, he decided to go back to his roots as a painter. The artist Ramón Valdiosera died on April 11, 2017, in Ciudad de México, Distrito Federal, Mexico at the age of 98.[10] This man accomplished so much in his life and his contributions have forever impacted the culture and fashion world of the Mexican nation.