Fashion's Narciso Rodriguez gets nod from museum

Associated Press
FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2011 file photo, designer Narciso Rodriguez is shown backstage before the presentation of his Fall 2011 show at Lincoln Center during Fashion Week in New York. El Museo del Barrio will honor the designer of Cuban descent next month during its annual gala. In its announcement, El Museo said that Rodriguez is considered one of the 25 most influential Hispanics in America. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, file)
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Fashion designer Narciso Rodriguez has always referenced the world of art: Modern paintings are one of his many sources of inspiration.

It seems fitting, then, that El Museo del Barrio will honor the designer of Cuban descent next month during its annual gala. In its announcement, El Museo said that Rodriguez is considered one of the 25 most influential Hispanics in America.

"It's a great compliment. I don't know if it is necessarily true but it is a great compliment. I like to think that I have given back to the community," Rodriguez said during an AP interview.

Rodriguez said he has been connected to the museum, which promotes Latino, Caribbean and Latin American art, for many years. It also offers youth programs to provide young people access to education. "I am always so proud of what they have done for the community, for New York, for Latinos, and beyond the Latino world, for so many unprivileged children, families, with outreach programs," he said.

Born in New Jersey to Cuban parents, Rodriguez has been recognized for a simple, elegant, architectural style that has been worn by first lady Michelle Obama and actresses like Sarah Jessica Parker, Salma Hayek, Jessica Alba and Juliana Margulies, who often wears him on the red carpet.

All his designs, he said, include his Latino heritage.

"Latin men love Latin women, it is part of the culture, we celebrate women in a very special way and I think that is present in my work," he said. "I do it by making them beautiful, sensual."

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