You Should Be Reading: Frida Kahlo and Mexican Fashion


1. Bradley, Laura. ‘The Secret Possessions of Frida Kahlo.’ AnOther. 5 May 2015.

In 2011, Ishiuchi Miyako was given a unique opportunity to photograph Frida Kahlo’s wardobe and personal objects, at Kahlo’s Blue House in Mexico City. It would be the first time her subject matter had not derived from Japan. She travelled to Mexico City, a frenetic, bustling contrast to her ordered homeland, and began to photograph over 300 of the well-preserved objects at the Blue House, the place where Kahlo was born, worked and died. The wardrobe was only discovered in 2004, having been hidden in a tiny, spare bathroom under the instruction of her husband Diego Rivera. – Article excerpt

Fridaan exhibition of Miyako’s photographs, is on at the Michael Hoppen Gallery in London from May 14-July 12, 2015.

2. Aragon, Alba F. ‘Uninhabited Dresses: Frida Kahlo, from Icon of Mexico to Fashion Muse.’ Fashion Theory 18(5), November 2014. 517-549.

This article examines the shifting meanings of Frida Kahlo’s figure and the Tehuana ethnic dress known as her trademark look. It analyzes Appearances Can Deceiving: The Dresses of Frida Kahlo, the first exhibit of the artist’s recently recovered wardrobe on view at the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City from 2012‐14. Engaging the exhibit’s suggestion that the artist casts a “spectral” image over contemporary fashion, this article inquires about the ways history inscribes itself on fashion despite its pretensions of constant innovation. The exhibit is examined in dialogue with Frida Kahlo’s My Dress Hangs There (1933), an image that reflects on modernity and national identity through the tension between competing visions of femininity and fashion represented by Mae West and a disembodied Tehuana dress. – Full article abstract

3. Rosensweig, Denise and Magdalena Rosensweig. Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress: The Fashion of Frida Kahlo. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2008.

Frida Kahlo remains one of the most popular artists of our timesales of Frida books number into the hundreds ofthousandsand yet no volume has ever focused on one of the most memorable aspects of her persona and creativeoeuvre: her wardrobe. Now, for the first time, 95 original and beautifully staged photographs of Kahlo’s newly restored clothing are paired with historic photos of the artist wearing them and her paintings in which the garments appear. Frida’s life and style were an integral part of her art, and she is long overdue for recognition as a fashion icon. – Publisher’s summary

Click here to read past contributor Heather’s review of Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress in 2008.

Click here to read UK contributor Emma’s review of last year’s exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum, Made in Mexico: The Rebozo in Art, Culture and Fashion.

Image credit: Frida by Ishiuchi, #34, via AnOther

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