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The phrase “Mexican design” may conjure images of woven blankets and Day of the Dead skulls. But as Mexican designers have realized the demand for low-cost, high-end design, a bit of a renaissance has been afoot in our neighbor to the south. Housewares, clothing, and jewelry star in “Rethinking Tradition: Contemporary Design From Mexico.” Keep an eye out for new takes on traditional wares such as the tripod vessel, commonly used for serving food and drink; its shape normally recalls that of a woman’s breast, but it turns phallic when rendered long and thin. The hike up to the fourth floor of the Mexican Cultural Institute is a long one, but totally worth it for the sculptural sterling necklaces, Tetris-evoking teak bookshelves, and a trippy chandelier that looks ornate until you realize it’s made of soda bottles. And lest you think Mexican fashion is all ponchos and sombreros, there’s a boho-chic linen dress that even the most discerning fashionista would covet.
THE EXHIBIT IS ON VIEW 10 A.M. TO 6 P.M. MONDAY TO FRIDAY AND 10 A.M TO 4 P.M. SATURDAY TO OCT. 15 AT THE MEXICAN CULTURAL INSTITUTE, 2829 16TH ST. NW. FREE. (202) 728-1628.