With collections named Genesis, Goddess, Athens, and Angels, it’s no surprise that Coral Castillo’s designs conjure an air of mythology and magic. Almost as magical as landing a spot in Project Runway S19, where her fashion fairytale truly began. Born in Mexico City, Castillo’s foray into design was equally fantastical, playing with her dressmaker mother’s fine textiles and falling asleep to the hum of the sewing machine. Despite the matriarch’s struggles in the industry, her mother’s perseverance and personal life story serve as core inspirations for Castillo’s designs.

Her latest collection, Genesis, is a true celebration of her growth, paying homage to her origin story, while making its debut on Project Runway’s season finale. Inspired by her native Mexico, she wanted to “expose the beauty, the value of how my people strive to preserve their authenticity and creativity.” On the catwalk, that manifested as flowing laser-cut silk gowns with matching patent boots in elemental hues of fire red, sunshine yellow, and ocean blue. Each design was inspired by a Mexican goddess, like her cobalt macrame gown after “the water Goddess (Aztec) Chalchiuhtlicue, symbolizing the purity and preciousness of spring, river, and lake water that was used to irrigate the fields.” The literal thread that wove all the pieces together was traditional Mexican handicrafts, like macrame fringe harnesses, floral Otomi embroidery, Nopal vegan leather jackets, and fantastical headdresses.

Highlighting the intentional interplay between light and dark, soft and structured, she noted, “I wanted to bring that to the runway. I want women to feel beautiful and strong and powerful, and feel like they can conquer the world if they want to.” Coral’s designs invite women to be their own warrior goddesses and step into their power.

Coral Castillo