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Award-winning, Cuban-born artist, Maria Magdelena Campos-Pons. (Tina Sutton) Award-winning, Cuban-born artist, Maria Magdelena Campos-Pons.
FASHION PLATES

Art Breaker

No matter her canvas, she creates a splash.

By Tina Sutton
October 5, 2008
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There's nothing ordinary about Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons. First, there's that mellifluous name reminiscent of Spanish royalty. Then there's her award-winning art: feminist and black-history-themed work seen in venues like The Museum of Modern Art in New York and, currently, the Davis Museum at Wellesley College. But most obvious are her audacious outfits, causing more than one famous artist to approach and ask, "Who are you?" Known simply as Magda, the exuberant 49-year-old says, "My fashion sense is like my art: eclectic, conceptual, and hybrid." Born in Cuba just as Castro came to power, she credits her seamstress mother's elegant yet anti-conformist clothing choices for inspiring her own wild aesthetic, composed of seductive silhouettes, heavenly fabrics, and high-wattage accessories. Campos-Pons is hard to miss in Brookline, where her son, Arcadio, is a sophomore and she and her music-composer husband Neil Leonard founded the Gallery Artists Studio Projects (G.A.S.P.) as a showcase for local work. Life and fashion should be about surprises, she trills. "I want to surprise myself."

Where She Shops

FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS "I always look for clean lines with femininity, and things that are interesting without being too busy," says Campos-Pons. Favorite local spots include Nanette Lepore (119 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-421-9200, nanettelepore.com), "who blends practicality with romanticism," and Valentino (47 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-578-0300, valentino.com) for gowns that wow. FOR WARDROBE INSPIRATION Campos-Pons says she loves Anthropologie (799 Boylston Street, Boston, 617-262-0545, anthropologie.com) because the store reminds her of Cuba. And when nostalgic for "crazy color and print mixes," she pops into Oilily (32 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-247-2366, oilily.nl). FOR ACCESSORIES As a woman constantly on the go, Campos-Pons frequents Camper Shoes (139 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-267-4554, camper.com) to find flats with fashion fl air, and Enzo Angiolini (Copley Place, Boston, 617-266-1202, enzoangiolini.com) for comfy heels. Fire Opal (320 Harvard Street, Brookline, 617-739-9066, fire-opal.com) is on her hit list for handmade jewelry by local artists.

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