Fifty years after Frida Kahlo died in her home in Mexico City, her most private rooms were finally opened to the public, revealing a trove of diaries, letters, and hundreds of clothes still holding on to the scents of Paints and cigarettes. It is her bday on 6 th of July, and the inspiration she is, not only to the fashion world, but also to every suffering human being, this is a day to celebrate inner strength coupled with flamboyance for all of us. Fashion was as much a part of Kahlo’s paintings as her daily life.
Kahlo suggested, “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.”
While artists and magazine editors have reproduced her bold style countless times (some featuring linen skirts, thick eyebrows, and hair adorned in flowers), she has more recently influenced designers like Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy
, Dolce & Gabbana,
and Carolina Herrera.
Her corsets inspired Madonna’s famed “cone” bustier, designed by Jean Paul Gaultier for her 1990 Blond Ambition.
Kahlo’s distinctive look – dark hair piled on top of her head, chunky earrings, a cluster of flowers, an unapologetic unibrow and a visible moustache – are bold, fearless and have influenced the fashion world in a big way.
She tried to focus more on clothes and paintings as she suffered accident in early days of her life which went on deteriorating her health. A particular image of a prosthetic leg in embroidered red boots is striking as she had to wear it after an amputation- it is flamboyant and intriguing.
Kahlo is associated with embroidered dresses which are such a big part of Mexican tribes and intricately embroidered Huipil blouses which are from Mayan tradition. She is a woman who was not ready to relent to what life threw her way, she chose to glamourise her disability and adversity unlike anybody- thus she reigns and remains a bona fide fashion icon.
Kahlo’s sunbleached swimming costume. Photograph: © Ishiuchi Miyako/Courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery
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