Setting the Trend
Houstonian, fashion designer Cesar Galindo
by Todd Ramos
A native Houstonian from Milby High School, Cesar Galindo is your all-around boy-next-door type whose star is getting brighter and brighter. Galindo, an internationally known fashion designer, says he gets his inspiration and creativity from his mother because he grew up watching her create her own clothing. Then, when his sister decided to get married and asked him to design her dress, the stitching of a fashion designer emerged. Galindo?s Latin roots play a big part in his designs, drawing from the flavor, color and spice of his ethnicity.
We first noticed Galindo in the early 1980s and were blown away by his designs. He had a fashion show at Rich’s and brought the house down. His designs were so out there, so very futuristic, it was like the “Jetson’s” look gone sexy. His looks were sexy, unique and sophisticated all in one. Galindo didn’t go to school for designing but had something better, his own personal professor – mom. It was here in Houston that he was encouraged to go to New York. When diva Grace Jones came to town, she urged Galindo to leave designing at the Houston Grand Opera and find his way in the Great White Way. He couldn’t have made it to New York without the support of good friends like Page Parkes-Eveleth, Rachel Duran, Dee Alvarado from Dream Merchant, the Visible Changes family, his family, and, of course, his own drive and inner faith. Once he hit New York, his first job was with TSE Cashmere. Brian Nelson, Steve Travolta, Camelo Pomodero, Janet Racy and Dolce & Gabanna were among the many individuals that were instrumental in Galindo’s career.
Galindo’s fashion made it big with the cover of Elle magazine, July 1994, on supermodel Karen Mulder. Once America and the rest of the world caught a glimpse of his designs, they wanted more. Galindo’s first trunk show was with Martha’s International on Park Avenue. Next, he was featured at the New York City retail institution Henri Bendel. Since then, he has created a media frenzy and been mentioned or featured in or on The New York Times, CNN, CNN Español, “Hard Copy,” “Inside Edition,” “E! Entertainment,” FOX, CBS, NBC, Univision and Telemundo, just to name a few. Galindo’s designs have been carried by top retailers from Saks Fifth Avenue to Bloomingdales to Henri Bendel and are currently at Patricia Field in New York and the Hotel Venus in SoHo – not bad for a boy of the South. This Houstonian has made quite a name for himself since his debut eight years ago.
Galindo travels back to his roots many times throughout the year, usually unveiling his line with a fashion show as a fundraiser for organizations assisting individuals with HIV/AIDS. We had a blast getting to know this truly talented Houstonian.
Who inspired you?
My mother, sister, Sophia Loren, Chanel, YSL and Geoffrey Beene.
What sets you apart from the rest of the fashion designers?
My flavor for color that I draw from my Latin roots.
What is the next hottest thing you have designed?
This season, you’ll see a very arty look with a strong point of tailoring and crisp body lines that are very clean-cut. My fabric will be linen and silks (taffeta, chiffon and lots of textures), and my cuts will be contoured to the body. My patterns will be individually hand-painted.
Who are some of the big names you have worked with?
Currently, I am under contract with Dolce & Gabanna, Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan’s world tour with Prince, Madonna and Lauren Valez from HBO’s “OZ.”
What is next for you?
I’ll be working on my spring 2003 line, and I’m a head designer for a New York-based design firm.
Where do you get your ideas?
From music, art, architecture and cultures. My eyes pick up everything.
What advice would you give someone wanting to be a designer?
Study the business and techniques, then create your own techniques, images and style.
Have you found it difficult being a minority designer?
No, actually it has been an advantage. I have milked it for everything it is worth.
What keeps you in touch with your Latin roots?
We see that you are continuously raising money for AIDS charities. Why is that?
It is the one disease that has affected my life the most. If there is something I can do, I want to do it.
What do you do on your days off?
I enjoy watching classic movies like “Mahogany,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Giant.”
Recently, you were featured in Evin Thayer’s “Millennium Makers” book of Houstonians that benefited the arts. Tell us about that.
I was very proud. Not only was I the youngest male in the book, but also I represented my age bracket and my culture. All sales of the book benefit Houston-area high school students who plan to continue their studies in any arts area at a Houston institute of high learning. That is very important to me.
When you think of Houston, what comes to mind?
Security, love, home and family.
So lets talk about your next hot project.
On Thursday nights, I will transform the Boaka Bar downtown into a night of fashionable theatrics, Boaka A La Mode. There will be a fashion event every Thursday night, starting with superstar “Sex and the City” stylist Rebecca Weinberg. She will present the fashion archives from HBO’s “Sex and the City,” which includes designers like Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabanna, Gucci, Chanel and Prada.