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This Iconic Selena Outfit Is Now On Display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History

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Whether it was on a red carpet, sold-out concer, or in a music video — rocking her cow-printed vest and miniskirt or bedazzled bustiers — Selena Quintanilla’s fashion-forward style always shined. Now, one of her most emblematic outfits is part of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s “Entertainment Nation” exhibition. 

Marking the Smithsonian’s first dedicated exploration of entertainment history, the exhibition features approximately 200 objects that honor theater, television, film, music and sports, including Quintanilla’s leather jacket and satin brassiere combo that she wore at the 1994 Tejano Music Awards in San Antonio, Texas. Quintanilla wore the outfit on display to perform a medley of “Donde Quiera Que Estés” with the Barrio Boyzz and “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom.” That same year, she won female artist of the year, female entertainer of the year, and album of the year for Selena Live!

The rockstar-inspired ‘fit was donated to the museum by the Quintanilla family in 1998. 

“This costume is on display on a red carpet, so it’s kind of a spotlight moment to explore Selena, her legacy, the impact that she had,” Ashley Mayor, a curatorial assistant who worked on the exhibition, tells Billboard via email. “It’s important to explore the impact of Selena on a generation of young Latinos who dreamed of being like her. She affected so many people with her music and brought Tejano music to a national and international level. She became a phenomenon.”


In August, the Quintanilla family released Selena’s new posthumous album Moonchild Mixes, home to 10 previously unreleased songs that the Queen of Tejano recorded between the ages of 13 and 16. In an interview with Billboard, her father Abraham Quintanilla Jr. said releasing the album is a way to keep her memory and legacy alive.

The album debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Latin Pop Albums chart (dated Sept. 10), as well as at No. 2 on Regional Mexican Albums and No. 8 on the all-Latin-encompassing Top Latin Albums chart. It earned the late icon her seventh No. 1 on Latin Pop Albums, tying Shakira and Thalia for the most among women, and extended her record for the most total weeks spent atop the chart.

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