LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — In dazzling embroidered shawls, wide skirts and black bowler hats, Aymara models strutted their stuff on the catwalk in Bolivia's capital in a fashion show designed to promote Andean style and beauty.

The indigenous women wore the classic, multilayered Andean skirt, called the pollera, traditional gold and silver jewelry, and delicate, brightly embroidered blouses. Friday night's fashion show in La Paz also revived the corset and the traditional petticoat of indigenous Andean women, who are commonly called cholitas in Bolivian slang.

"Our modeling isn't what is common; our culture is different and respecting it, we want to show that the cholita can by sexy, beautiful and elegant," said designer Rosario Aguilar of Promociones Rosario, which organized the fashion show with 25 Aymara models.

The event, called the Chola Pacena Our Tradition in the 21st Century Fashion Show, is part of an effort to start an Andean modeling school.

"The models that we are showing now are lighter, less thick and let the woman in a pollera be ready for daily tasks," Aguilar said.

La Paz has declared the Cholita Pacena to be part of its cultural patrimony.


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