Nickolas Muray, Portrait of Frida Kahlo, 1939. Nickolas Muray Photo Archives. Detail.
Daily Art Magazine: Frida Kahlo is one of those women who are instantly recognizable. Even though she lived in the first half of the 20th century, she still evokes a mystique and an aesthetic all her own. If art is a form of self-expression, so is fashion. And Frida Kahlo, the artist, was adept at transitioning her innermost self seamlessly into her fashion choices.
Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait Dedicated to Leon Trotsky, 1937, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC, USA.
There are two things that most people know about Kahlo. Firstly, at just 18 years old, she was involved in a very painful accident in which the bus she rode hit a streetcar. This incident marked her for the rest of her life. Secondly, she had a passionate relationship with artist Diego Rivera. Kahlo herself had something to say of both.
There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the trolley and the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst.
Frida Kahlo (attr.).
Pain as Catalyst
Kahlo had already met Rivera by the time of the accident. However, that moment signaled a turning point when both her art and her fashion style blossomed. She had already begun to experiment with fashion since childhood. When she was six polio left her with a limp and one longer leg, so her classmates made fun of her. What did Kahlo do? She began to wear longer skirts and layered socks on her right foot to maintain balance.
Frida Kahlo on her bed, 1932. Frida Kahlo
Later, when the accident caused such grave injuries to her spine and leg, she turned to art and beauty for healing. Fashion, then, became a practical way to conceal her disabilities. It was actually Rivera who suggested that she finds inspiration in the traditional aesthetic of Tehuana clothing. The long, wide skirts, loose-fitting blouses, elaborate hairstyles, and intricate embroidery could be used to her advantage. Through interesting elements and silhouettes, Kahlo could conceal casts and back braces, enhance her allure, and show her pride in her cross-cultural identity.
Kahlo embraced all of it and, by doing so, she passed on to us a legacy of strength and determination. Pain, sorrow, and disappointment may always follow us, but that doesn’t mean that we have to let them take all the room.
Feet, what do I need you for, when I have wings to fly?
Frida Kahlo (attr.).
So, are ready to channel your inner Frida Kahlo? Here’s some inspiration to get you started:
Frida Kahlo and Her Wardrobe – Elements of Her Iconic Look
Kahlo’s wardrobe is a very personal mix of traditional, practical, feminine, and eclectic influences, and she rocked them all with confidence! What are some of the elements that made her wardrobe so unique?
Kahlo and bright colors are synonymous. Early in her diary, she writes:
I’ll try out the pencils
sharpened to the point of infinity
which always sees ahead…
Frida Kahlo, The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait.
And then she went on to write short snippets about the meanings of the colors in her pencil box.
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By LEDYS CHEMI