I think that the most important aspect of event curation for LGBTQ and gender variant communities is to make space for ALL of us. — Laura Luna P.
Los Angeles-based Laura Luna P , aka Creative Xicana has a smile, you should know, that turns night into day. A fashion stylist, wardrobe consultant, activist, queer vintage connoisseur, burlesque dancer and fierce femme, Laura Luna P is best known for rocking it no matter what she does. We met this fierce femme many years ago when she was co-producing a butch/femme fashion show in Los Angeles with Natasha Dyer. This is a woman who works with community with intention, heart, and oh … SERIOUS amounts of glitter and glam. The woman delivers! So we asked her how she got into the biz, and how she keeps her ethics and creativity in check and together.
Laura Luna, you have been in the fashion business for a long time. How long has it been?
I have been in the business of admiring fashion and style for a really long time. I’ve always been an eccentric dresser as growing up poor and having to shop at thrift stores will give you an imagination and eye for style real quick. As far as producing fashion and thinking more critically about it, I would say that started with the first fashion show I co-produced as part of Sappho’s Return (Sapphic Threads) in 2006.
What interests you about the fashion industry?
Everything interests me. Although I do have issue with some of it (unfair labor practices, accessibility of items due to price, size etc…), for the most part, I love it. I love the creativity. I’m more interested in the social justice/gender presentation aspect of it. I love how queer people “do” fashion. Why do we, as queer people, wear what we wear? How do we get our ideas for what to wear? How do the clothes we wear create community? These are all the questions that are always on my mind when I think of fashion.
Why are you in the game?
Why not? I want to take up space in the fashion conversation and make space for others, like myself, who don’t quite fit the norm. I’m a queer fat xicana femme, not necessarily the poster child for “fashion” in this thin/white obsessed society.
How does fashion and style build community?
I think as humans, we tend to gravitate towards people that are like us and with a similar aesthetic. The same is is true with fashion and style. When a dapper boi sees another similarly dressed person out in the street, there’s that connection then usually ‘the nod’. It’s that acknowledgment that says ‘I see you and I hope you see me too’. For me it happens when I see someone with hoop earrings and meticulously applied red lipstick walking with a certain swagger. For some reason, that’s a femme flag for me. When we’re in those situations it makes us want to know more about the person that we see because in a way, they’re a reflection of us. Sometimes we even have a chance to interact with them and that’s where the community building aspect of it comes into play.
You and I met at an event you co-produced back in 2006 in Los Angeles, called Sapphic Threads. I loved that show!
That show was most definitely a labor of love for fashion and all things butch/femme. Natasha Dyer, the other 1/2 of Sappho’s Return, worked in fashion and I have always been low key obsessed with clothes/style. One day, we were brainstorming our next production and with the help of Jillian Nye (who provided most of the clothes and the storyline) Sapphic Threads: A Vintage Butch/Femme Fashion show came to life. With that show, we really wanted to smash the stereotype that lesbians (how we both ID’d at the time) don’t have style. With the help of the participating artists, models, and designers, a wonderful buzz was created for the show. The folks that attended the show were “dressed to the nines.” It was such a beautiful thing for us, as the producers of the show, to see all these queer folks in the audience dressed up and enjoying the clothing that was coming down the runway.
What other fashion shows or curatorial projects on fashion and style have you done since that time?
Currently I’m working with Micha Cardenas and Nickey Robo as co-organizer for the Fierce Fashion Futures track at the 2013 Allied Media Conference. We can’t wait to work with everyone this Summer in Detroit. Besides personal styling gigs, I have also worked as Creative Consultant: INVINCIBLE: Coming Back from the Ruins, Butch Voices LA Regional Conference 2010. Stylist: Femme Fashion for Queerture: Queer + Couture, UCLA FASHION Conference 2011. Wardrobe: So Pomo (music video for Metahuman). Wardrobe: The Good Kind (dir by Ofelia Yanez). Wardrobe: Chavez (dir by Diego Luna)
How have you grown as a fashion/style curator and producer?
In the beginning of my journey with fashion, I was only looking at what was aesthetically pleasing to me. I wasn’t really going deeper into why I liked certain styles or looks and/or what impact what I wore had on community building/visibility. I think that with the advent of the internet and being able to peruse sites like tumblr and/or having access to academic journals and fashion lectures on youtube (which have been sort of a continuing fashion education for me), I’ve been able to see fashion/style from a different lense and expand my knowledge past just the fashion magazine/runway shows.
What is the most important aspect of events curation for LGBTQ and gender-variant communities and peoples?
I think that the most important aspect of event curation for LGBTQ and gender variant communities is to make space for ALL of us. I think that the challenge for those of us who curate/produce fashion events is to make sure we’re being inclusive of all identities and styles. Lately, I’ve seen so many events geared towards MoC folks and often wonder where’s the space our Trans* sisters? Femmes? Gender variant/fluid folks? We/they have style and should be celebrated and allowed to shine as well.
You are an activist and arts advocate for the position of femmes in discussions of style and visibility.
Femmes (of all genders) have a voice in the current and historical conversations regarding queer fashion. One of my femmespirations Jewelle Gomez was quoted in an interview in the SF weekly as describing Femme as “..someone who is interested in living a life of adornment and affectation. It’s not a role but an identity, as in something embedded inside that manifests externally in many different ways.” I tend to stick to that definition when describing Femme. I mean, with a definition like that there is no way that someone can think that Femmes have ever not been part of the queer fashion conversation. I think that it is unfortunate when people think of queer fashion they tend to think of Masculine of Center fashion only because that’s what people think of as subversive, however no one can tell me that when femmes use lipstick as warpaint (specifically red lipstick for me) that isn’t subversive. As Femmes, we use our make-up and adornment not for the male gaze, but for ourselves. What’s more powerful than that?
Where do you hope to be and what issues do you hope the community/ies continue to foreground as our movement takes on larger more widespread audiences, both in the media and live on the runway?
Inclusion. that’s my hope for the next few years of queer/ing fashion. I want to see fat folks, folks with varying degrees of ability, trans* folks and gender variant/fluid folks represented in not only queer fashion spaces but also “mainstream” fashion spaces. I hope to be continuing to make spaces for queer folks and the folks mentioned above in the events that I am approached to produce/work on.
As for modeling and being a performer, you are in a burlesque troupe. Fantastic. Where does your troupe perform?
I’m ⅓ of a The Roundettes. We are a troupe of 3 self ID’d Queer Fat Femmes. Together with Krystal L’amor & Lisa JuggsBunny, The Roundettes promote visibility for Fat Femmes and body positivity in Los Angeles and beyond. We’ve actually been super blessed to be able to have performed at many venues since our inception in July of 2012. We started out performing at BENT (a quarterly queer cabaret show in LA) and most recently were super honored to have performed as part of the LA stop of the Heels on Wheels Glitter Roadshow. We have a couple of really amazing shows coming up. Folks can connect with us on our Facebook page to keep up with our latest gigs and for any booking inquiries.
Our mission statement: The Roundettes are a body positive burlesque troupe based out of So Cal. In a world where the word fat is considered an insult, these Fierce Fat Femmes seek to reclaim the word and show the world that sexy and fierce can come at ANY size. We view our performance as activism, especially in an area like LA where the pressure to conform to the standards that the “Industry” (Hollywood) sets more often than not leads to the oppression of fat people like us. By showing our audiences that fat people can be and feel sexy, we hope to empower folks to be comfortable and feel hot in the skin and body that they’re in.
Follow Laura Luna via www.lalunafemme.tumblr.com and twitter @laura_luna