Lourdes Gutiérrez loves fashion. In fact there’s nothing she enjoys more than donning her vibrant red polleras, layered with six underskirts for volume and effect, and swaying to the strong rhythmic tunes of Huayño music surrounded by friends and family. But, when the pandemic hit, and lockdown rules were implemented across Peru, Gutiérrez had to find new ways of celebrating the garments she cherished so much.
Enter TikTok. Housebound and with no parties to attend, Gutiérrez started dressing up for her camera in a bid to salvage her favorite garments from going to waste. She couldn’t have anticipated the response her videos would receive. Her vibrant looks and unparalleled dance moves amassed almost two million followers in less than three years. Not only were her videos a form of self-expression that offered her much-needed relief during difficult times, they also offered her a platform to celebrate traditional Peruvian garments, music, and dance with people from across the world.
“Pinquillada is a typical dance from my hometown that I really enjoy,” she said. “It brings me closer to my roots.”
Below, photographer Juliette Cassidy captures Gutiérrez in some of her most cherished looks in her hometown on the outskirts of Puno in southern Peru.
“From Cumbia to Peruvian Chicha, Latin American music is the type I enjoy most. But Huayño is my favorite type of music because it belongs to Southern Peru—where I belong, too. It makes me feel more connected to my roots.”
“Polleras are without a doubt my favorite item of clothing. I grew up seeing my people wearing them in their everyday life. People don’t wear polleras in the city, which is why I use them; I don’t want these traditional clothes to get lost from our memory.”
“I grew up by Lake Titicaca surrounded by cattle, lamas, sheeps, and great green pastures. But my family has always sold goods in bigger towns. Every weekend we would go back home to decompress from the week and spend quiet times together in nature.”
“I have been passionate about dancing and music since I was very little. One of the goods my parents would sell were CDs from different artists, so I was exposed to lots of music since I was a kid. That is where my passion for performance stems from.”