Celebrating the personal style of Frida Kahlo
Dark braids, bursts of bright flowers, eclectic jewellery, traditional embroidery, painted lips and monobrow, Frida Kahlo is not only a feminist icon, but a fashion touchstone. Her meticulously cultivated look was not frivolous, but a tapestry of reference points and allusions that rendered her outfits highly symbolic – her Tehuana dresses as manifestations of traditional Mexican femininity, her long skirts concealing her eventual prothesis.
Frida's clothes were hidden away by her husband Diego Rivera after she died at the age of 47 in 1954, and they remained that way until they were unearthed in 2004. Now, as the contents of Frida Kahlo's wardrobe leave Mexico for the first time to be showcased in London, we track the wonderful ways in which she used clothes and cosmetics to transcend ideals and cultiavate her identity.
Frida did not use cosmetics to conform to societal beauty standards, nor did she use them to tame her wild brows or shield her identity. Instead, she applied makeup in order to emphasise her distinctive appearance and break the mould of what was considered beautiful.
Her preferred brand was Revlon – using the Ebony Eye Pencil to define her notorious monobrow and the 'Everything's Rosy' lipstick to paint her lips. Each of these products are to be displayed in their original packaging at the exhibition which opens in June. Sadly for Frida fanatics, none of the exact products are in production today.