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 often wore embroidered Tehuana dresses, which originated in the Tehuantepec region of South Mexico, as well as Mayan Huipil garments and blouses, and other traditional clothing from further parameters than South America. She is said to have seen the attire as a symbol of female power, and wore them as a cultural reference in her construction of her visual narrative of heritage and identity.