Thalia Sodi gasps with delight at a gold-flecked peacock print skirt a woman at a nearby table is wearing during lunch in West Hollywood. "Do you see that?" the pop star exclaims. "It's a vintage skirt. I love it!"
For Grammy winner Sodi, who has been a celebrity in her home country of Mexico since the start of her singing career at age 9 and who received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013, inspiration seems to be striking everywhere, especially now that she has added a fashion designer title to her already robust résumé.
This spring, she debuted a line of women's clothing and accessories at Macy's, designed with the Latino consumer in mind and marking the biggest fashion brand launch in the 157-year-old retailer's history.
The 266-piece spring offering in the Thalia Sodi Collection is made up of figure-hugging dresses, casual basics and glitzy jewelry and shoes. Prices run from $16.50 for a pair of hoop earrings up to $109 for a pair of embellished platform sandals.
Like the cool blue-greens of the peacock print, Sodi adores a palette of striking color, which is evident in the bold reds, bright pinks and overall eye-catching prints and added jeweled details throughout the line.
"I am big into prints, mixing animal with maybe florals or florals with color blocking," says Sodi of her fashion aesthetic. "I also like color. I remember Mexico: the bougainvillea, the light green of avocados or being on the beach eating fish tacos and seeing the sunset. It evokes our culture."
Sodi's Latin background and high-wattage star power throughout Mexico and Central America made the partnership with Macy's a natural fit, because Latino customers represent 16% of traffic for the department store and the company estimates that figure will climb to 20% within a few years.
"Macy's and the Latin community have a love affair," says Martine Reardon, Macy's chief marketing officer. "It's a big customer."
So big that Macy's debuted the line this season in 300 of its 775 stores nationwide with plans for more in the near future. To put that in perspective, Macy's generally only launches a new brand in around 80 stores.
In creating the line, the retailer spared no detail, even sending its technical designers to Mexico to study and observe body types and ensure that the fit and fabric of the clothes were suited to the Latina customer.
"Even our mannequins are different," Sodi says of the custom-made display mannequins that pepper her 300 in-store shops. "They're not the skinny ones. They have curves and they're adorable!"
Sodi says modern women's day-to-day lives were also taken into consideration. "Yes, the opening point for this line is the Latina girl, but it transitions into everyone's life," she says, "We're mothers who are working. Most of the women right now, especially my girls, the Latinas, they have two or three jobs. They come home, take care of their husband, play with the kids, do some homework and they're ready to go out and have some fun. You have to make it easy for them, so they put this on and feel gorgeous and feel refreshed."
For inspiration Sodi has also tapped her own life — a mix of global pop stardom and daily family duties (she has been married to former head of Sony Music Entertainment Tommy Mottola for 15 years and has two children). Her long-standing love of fashion and performing helped guide the look of her collection.
"The collection is very sexy, but feminine, not vulgar," says Sodi, who adds that the pieces are all very much an extension of who she is. "Sometimes I feel sexy beyond limits, sometimes romantic and relaxed. Sometimes I want to go out and for everybody to look at me. And sometimes I just want to take it easy."