While we’re used to seeing Dominicans‘ mark all over New York City, it was still unexpected to see an important part of their cultural heritage on display at Saks Fifth Avenue. This week as the department store debuted a window display featuring Lechones – traditional figures that are an essential part of Santiago’s carnaval – many Dominicans expressed their excitement. Based on the reactions, it’s clear that Raylin Suarez – windows director at Saks – succeeded in giving people a look into the customs that formed a part of his childhood.
“After 10 years of traveling back and forth to visit my family and friends in Santiago, Dominican Republic, I started feeling nostalgic about all the beautiful memories of my childhood,” he wrote on Instagram. “Growing up, every Sunday in February, my parents used to take me and my brothers to the carnival, a beautiful celebration full of colors, music, and happiness. We used to dress as mini ‘Lechones,’ the traditional costumes of the city I was born and raised. These memories always came to my mind as they were one of the most beautiful celebrations we ever had.
“As a kid, I remembered staring at the Lechones thinking how amazing all those colors blended together. As an adult and living in New York, I have always been curious if I will ever have the opportunity to show this amazing costumes and memories to the world.”
As a result of his work, mannequins on the display window now wear vibrant, bejeweled masks. The display came together with the help of the Delegación de Lechones de New York. In his Instagram post, Suarez also thanked his team for believing and supporting his idea.
Check out a few reactions below: