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Introducing... Chido Bueno

Chido Bueno perked up my computer screen when the excellent Supermarket Sarah devoted one of her shopping walls to this Mexican accessories brand. The weather was horrific, and Chido Bueno's wares were a blaze of holiday sunshine in my face – glorious tomato reds, aqua blues, purple-and-fuchsia-draped Virgin Marys and nattily dressed Day of the Dead skeletons.

I liked it. So I tapped up the colour crazy duo behind Chido Bueno to find out more about what they do, why they do it, where they do it and how to make it look brilliant in a house unused to such excellently Mexican ways. I'll hand you over...

Layla and Felicity (behind); aka Chido Bueno
Chido Bueno are... "Two sisters, Felicity and Layla (me), separated by the Atlantic; I'm in Mexico, Felicity is in London. We wanted to show the world what misunderstood Mexico has to offer –  beyond big sombreros, drug dealers and tequila (artisanal mescal is much better!). We find gifted artisans in Mexico to design, make and source beautiful, unique and hand-made home and fashion accessories – which we sell via our website and Etsy shop.

From top, left to right: cushions from £42; recycled Hojalata kissing dove mirror, £25; large recycled Hojalata kissing doves mirror, £38; large recycled Hojalata winged heart mirror, £35
"I have been living in Mexico for seven years, and have experience working with indigenous groups here. Felicity – a social scientist/artist/photographer/designer – lives in London, with frequent long stays in Mexico. 

"We are both passionate about sustainable development and having a positive impact on the lives of the people we work with. We started Chido Bueno because of our love of Mexican culture, textiles and colour.  

"Mexico has a rich and incredible cultural heritage, which can be seen in its amazing handicrafts and textiles.  Our strongest influence as designers are Mexico's vibrant colours. Their hedonistic approach to colour fills you with joy. We work directly with Mexican artisans to produce beautiful and classic pieces with a modern twist – influenced by our having grown up in London.

"The women of el Istmo in southern Mexico are a special inspiration to us. They are powerful women with an equally powerful aesthetic, which celebrates colour. The ‘huipiles’ or boxy blouse, with matching skirts are hand embroidered for each social event. Women work for months on their outfit to prove their skill and make an impact at a party. They fill their tops and skirts with large flowers or geometric box designs and load themselves with ‘fantasy’ gold. They are completely committed to their unique aesthetic, with no regard for practicality – their party outfits, with all their embroidery and velvet, weigh a ton.

Collection of some of the clothes embroidered by mother and daughter over their lifetimes
"Velvet was a more ‘recent’ addition based on the dictator Porfirio Diaz’s obsession with gay Paris and his lover Juana Cata’s travels between the Istmo and France bringing new influences. Foreign influences can be taken on board by Mexican artisans as their own, which can be positive when it comes to an amazing (if sweaty) huiple but sad when it undermines their heritage and huipiles are replaced with factory made rhinestoned t-shirts… Chido Bueno wants traditions to last, develop and grow not die out.

"Not reigned in by ‘rules', women go for clashing bold colours and optimum impact. Polka dots are very popular, combined with criss-cross box designs. Frida Kahlo wore traditional Itsmo dress in some of her most famous images.

A selection of headdresses from the Istmo on display in a market these are worn mostly for fiestas
"In Mexico you can dress yourself as you’d ‘dress’ your house – they are unique representations of each person. Contrast is very important. The good thing about colour is that you can add it bit by bit to your home, with a bright bowl in an unexpected place, a colourful cushion on a bed… until you get addicted!

A house in Oaxaca, blue with red details
"The white in the house image, above, acts as a release of colour on the corner. Most houses are painted with bright, contrasting colours, with window and doorframes painted in complementary hues. The use of block colour is easily transferable into the UK context, try juxtaposing a turquoise garden wall next to your terracotta potted summer flowers.

"Our embroidered cushion covers made from vintage ‘huipiles’ (see top images) are a great way to bring Mexican colour and warmth into your home. One blouse is used to create one matching pair of covers. Each set is therefore completely unique.

"Tin is bright and bold and can cheer up any space. The recycled tin mirrors we sell at Chido Bueno (see top image, and also here) are all cut, beaten and painted by hand by Arturo Perez.

Recycled tin hojalata skeletons, from £3 each
"A small injection of colour into your home can make a big difference to your day. The Mexican aesthetic is about having fun, playing and experimenting.  It’s about realising that there’s no wrong or right.  It’s about finding beauty in what’s day to day.

Photography: Nikhol EsterĂ¡s Roberts; Felicity Meerloo; Layla Meerloo; Susannah Rigg

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