In Vegas, Jimi Urquiaga Celebrates Family, Unity and Inspirational Women

In what is undoubtedly a challenging time for Vegas, "La Familia Urquiaga" celebrates the vibrant and inspirational people Jimi Urquiaga has loved his whole life.

 

All clothing models own

Las Vegas is still in the process of healing. Two weeks ago, a terrorist opened fire on concert-goers in the city, leaving 58 people dead and 546 injured, and nothing has felt normal since. Vegas’ casinos are reporting drastic declines in visitors. The infamous “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” slogan is scarcely uttered. A city which was notorious for its flamboyance and vibrant party scene remains strangely quiet.

Megan (left) wears coat and boots by Kenzo. Jasselyn (right) wears jacket, shorts and boots by Kenzo.

What communities require to heal after tragedy is a sense of unity, belonging, and — however banal it might sound — love. This is exactly the sentiment that is revealed in the work of Las Vegas-based stylist Jimi Urquiaga, for whom Nevada’s capital city is a constant source of inspiration. Behind the city’s glamorous and reckless image, there has always been a beating heart of families, communities, friends and kindred spirits. It’s this raw vein of connection that Urquiaga’s work exposes.

Made in collaboration with photographer Alexander Saladrigas, Urquiaga’s “La Familia Urquiaga” is a moving tribute to his family and friends. In bold colours and warm hues, the series portrays “subjects that I’ve found beautiful since the beginning of my life”, Urquiaga states. Urquiaga’s many aunts, grandmothers, cousins and friends are featured in classic Las Vegas locales ­ – at casino slot machines, next to opulent sculptures, under Vegas’ bright blue skies.

Left: Megan wears jacket, shorts and boots by Kenzo; Yaselin wears coat and boots by Kenzo. Right: Yanaisi wears coat, turtle neck and heels by Max Mara and hat by Coach; Yasnai wears coat by Dries Van Noten, heels by Max Mara and hat by Coach; Isabella wears skirt and heels by Max Mara, hat by Coach and coat by Maria Cornejo.

The humorous and warm-hearted portraits are accompanied by two “love letters” Jimi Urquiaga wrote. The first is addressed to all of the women in his family; the second is a personal tribute to his Abuela Sonia, who is currently battling Alzheimer’s. The tenderness that permeates the series and the deeply personal subject matter make “La Familia Urquiaga” an unusually emotional fashion editorial. Given the current situation in Vegas — and, indeed, our wider political climate — this sense of unity is sorely needed.

Left: Molly wears coat by Versace Trench; John wears coat by Philipp Plein. Right: Encarnacion wears coat by Miu Miu, coat by Issey Miyake and purse by Kenzo.
Olga wears coat and skirt by Miu Miu and purse by Kenzo.

”You are a force. There are few people on this earth that have the capability to move mountains, and you are one of those people” – Letter to Sonja by Jimi Urquiaga

 

Olga wears coat by Kenzo; Encarnacion wears coat by Miu Miu and coat by Issey Miyake.

“I know that no matter how bad the Alzheimers gets, you’re still in there. I hope that i’ve made you proud, and I want you to know that I will never stop until I reach greatness. I will apply everything you’ve taught me to my life, and i’m going to make you proud. Through photography and fashion, i’m going to continue telling your story. I hope that it becomes like a time capsule, so that the younger generations in our family and my own children will know what kind of inspiring and powerful women we came from.” – Letter to Sonja by Jimi Urquiaga

Encarnacion wears coat by Miu Miu and coat by Issey Miyake; Olga wears coat by Miu Miu and purse by Kenzo.
Molly wears coat by Versace Trench; John wears coat by Philipp Plein.

“You all are the cornerstones of this family. You are the foundation that has allowed his family to grow upward and onward. It leaves me speechless when I take a moment to think about you being the rocks of our households, and the amazing feat of carrying the weight of our family on your shoulders” – A Letter to the Women in my Family by Jimi Urquiaga

Neven wears jeans by Guess Jeans and pants by Kenzo; Gianni wears jeans by Guess Jeans, jacket by Kenzo, belt and shoes are model’s own; Derek’s clothes are model’s own; Isaac wears jeans by Guess Jeans, pants by Kenzo, belt and shoes are model’s own.
Left: Angela wears dress and shoes by Mulberry Right: Keith wears shirt, blazer and pants by Vivienne Westwood. Socks and shoes are model’s own.
Keith wears shirt, blazer and pants by Vivienne Westwood. Socks and shoes are model’s own.

“I had an amazing childhood and it’s seriously a testament to the hard work of these women: the women who made hard work look easy. The women who showered me with abundant love and filled my heart” – A Letter to the Women in my Family by Jimi Urquiaga

Yanaisi wears coat, turtle neck and heels by Max Mara and hat by Coach. Yasnai wears coat by Dries Van Noten, heels by Max Mara and hat by Coach. Isabella wears skirt and heels by Max Mara, hat by Coach and coat by Maria Cornejo.

“I grew up in a household built on hard work of men, but kept up by the blood, sweat and tears that the women in my life gave and continue to give today” – A Letter to the Women in my Family by Jimi Urquiaga

Yanaisi wears coat, turtle neck and heels by Max Mara and hat by Coach. Yasnai wears coat by Dries Van Noten, heels by Max Mara and hat by Coach. Isabella wears skirt and heels by Max Mara, hat by Coach and coat by Maria Cornejo.

Photography: Alexander Saladrigas
Producer, Creative Director, Casting Director and Fashion Editor: Jimi Urquiaga
Hair: Sonny Molina using Davines
Make-up and Groomer: Homa Safar using Mac Cosmetics
Photography Assistant: Ryne Belanger
Fashion Assistant: Jonathon Lizaola and Noah Diaz
Hair Assistant: Vicki Casciola and Brandon Hall
Makeup and Grooming Assistant: Maile Bello

Models: Enrique Urquiaga (Grandfather), Sonia Urquiaga (Grandmother), Encarnacion Corzo (Great Grandmother), Olga Dematias (Great Grandmother), Yanaisi Gordon (Cousin), Yasnai Cajete Lopez (Sister), Isabella Chavez (Cousin), Yaselin Navarro (Cousin), Megan Lovering (Cousin), Angela Urquiaga (Aunt), Keith Beverly (Best Friend), Isaac Urquiaga (Brother), Gianni Urquiaga (Brother), Neven Chavez (Cousin), Derek Chavez (Cousin), Molly Ingstad (Best Friend) and John Deguchi (Best Friend)

With special thanks to Debbie Brockett, Jovan Yanes, Michael Yanes, Amarilys Gordon and Christopher Gordon.

Ira Solomatina

Ira Solomatina

– Ira Solomatina is a journalist and researcher who is fascinated by contemporary fashion and art. Russian-born, Ira regularly writes essays for Büro 24/7 Russia and contributes to Sleek. She has recently started teaching a course at the University of Potsdam.

#irasolomatina
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