MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's elegant and classy "Skeleton Lady" is getting new attention more than a century after she was born, inspiring some movie and rock stars in the U.S. to don Halloween costumes based on the macabre figure that has grown to symbolize the Day of the Dead.
As Mexico's capital marks the 100th anniversary of the death of the artist who created "Catrina," dozens of video bloggers are offering tips on how to nail her pale skull look.
Jose Guadalupe Posada, the cartoonist who created Catrina, is being honored by Mexico City with giant replicas of his illustrations and a display of skeleton statues for the Day of the Dead offering that opens on the capital's main plaza Thursday. Such offerings traditionally consist of an altar with flowers, food and a photo of a departed loved one.
The Skeleton Lady in her elegant broad-brimmed hat first appeared in a satirical engraving that Posada did sometime between 1910 and his death on Jan. 20, 1913. He wanted to mock those who pretended to be of a higher class, even if it meant starving, and going painfully thin, or without flesh. She became the most famous of Posada's illustrations, with later sketches dressing her in classy Victorian-era garments with a high neckline.
As Halloween celebrations make inroads in Mexico, the spooky and sexy Catrina look is spreading a Mexican touch to the north. Singer Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas sported a sexy Catrina outfit with a red-and-black shawl and headpiece and published a photo on her Instagram account. Sandra Bullock was caught by photographers in Los Angeles wearing Mexican-style skull makeup and a black dress.
While it's often called "Mexican Candy Skull" makeup, the Catrina touches of elegant scarves and veiled hats stem from the Skeleton Lady. Dozens of tutorials popped up in the last month on YouTube showing how to darken circles around the eyes and draw colorful shapes on the cheeks to create a frightening, yet festive look.
At some online costume stores in the Unites States, short-skirted and tight-bodiced "muerta" or "sugar-skull" costumes are on sale.
The Catrina is also trendy among young women in Mexico. Makeup studios and salons apply the complex face paint for as much as 1,000 pesos (about $80) for Halloween as Mexicans increasingly mix the U.S. festival with the Day of the Dead, which traditionally didn't involve dressing up.