Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo’s fashion sense is a lot like herself. It’s colorful, complex, and filled with passion. Just looking at some of the things she wore tends to explain where she got her inspiration for her paintings. But when Frida passed away in 1954, her husband, Diego Rivera, sealed a wardrobe with her clothes and other belongings in a bathroom in their home in Mexico City. He also left instructions that the wardrobe had to remain hidden until 15 years after his death. Unfortunately, Rivera died in 1957 and the wardrobe remained locked for 47 years. Then, in 2004, this proverbial treasure trove was unlocked, which gave us a better glimpse at who Frida Kahlos was.There are flowers on her hair, and even in some of the backgrounds like the back of this wall. This is probably because, like herself, flowers are full of colors, liveliness, and beauty.
It’s the ultimate selfie, and you’ll find not only flowers represented on the canvas, but also birds which are a common theme in her jewelry, hair accessories and wardrobe.
So naturally, Frida decided to sport some classic, cat-themed sunglasses of her own, because her self-portraits and paintings were da bomb and went down in history as some of the most amazing works of arts ever.
But these items were old and fragile, so when Japanese photographer Ishiuchi Miyako photographed the collection of over 300 unseen relics, he used a 35mm Nikon camera with natural light to archive Frida’s most private things.
So she ended up knitting this mint green swimsuit out of cotton with her own two hands. So aside from being a prolific painter, she was a fashion designer too? Is there anything this amazing woman couldn’t do?
Oh yes, there’s a definite difference between the height of one of the heels. That’s because she developed polio as a child, which left one leg shorter than the other.
Well Frida certainly found lovely ways to accessorize, including wearing some interesting jewelry, like these hoop earrings with two birds and a blue flower in the middle. Coincidentally, she’s seen wearing these in many of her paintings.
She wound up having to wear a full body cast for three months. But just like we often have our friends sign our arm or leg casts, Frida decided to paint her cast corset into a work of art, to mellow an otherwise terrible reminder of the pain she endured.
So she wore traditional Tehuana dresses like this one to honor her roots, while also using them to cover up her lower body, which had suffered a great deal of abuse from her childhood illness and accident later in life.
She had become extremely depressed over losing her leg, so she designed this prosthetic leg with embroidered red lace-up boots and a bell attached. Unfortunately, she passed away a year later of pulmonary embolism.
Ironically, her husband, Diego Rivera didn’t allow her to wear western clothes because he felt that Mexican women should wear traditional Mexican clothes. Despite this, Frida managed to rock the headdress the same way she did everything else in her life.
Unfortunately the bottles found in her collection were practically empty or dried up. Revlon was founded during the Great Depression in 1932, by the Revson brothers and a chemist named Charles Lachman, who contributed the “L” in the name brand Revlon which Frida clearly loved.
According to her friends, Frida found a way to cope with her injuries and pain by creating elaborate outfits like this one. Some might say that it was her way of being in control of something despite losing so much control of her own body.
If you take a closer look, you may notice that these holes are mirrored as part of the otherwise dreary design that Frida tried and succeeded to liven up.
Now in today’s world, one might frown on smokers, but back in the day, women smokers were extremely trendy, and Frida was certainly a trendy gal.
As a woman who suffered for the rest of her life from that bus accident that badly injured her in her 20s, Frida spent most of her life in hospitals undergoing surgeries by alleged professionals who could ease her pain, and wearing contraptions like this one to relieve the pain in her spine.
So she attached a skirt of green silk and lace to her body corset, because if you have to wear one, you might as well do it with a little fashion sense too.
It’s not the same as having Frida there alive and well, but to touch the hair that was on her head is almost provocative, and who knows, maybe a scientist will figure out a way to clone Frida.
Believe it or not, this old black thing is actually a T-shirt worn by Frida herself. From the looks of it, she might have used it to protect her clothes while she was doing one of her paintings.
It’s amazing to see how some of the traces she has left behind as an individual may not have meant as much back then as they do today, which is what Ishiuchi Miyako wanted to reflect when he photographed the artist’s belongings.
Just like this Emir perfume bottle, which, although half used, tells us a little about this iconic artist’s beauty ritual, not to mention what she probably smelled like all those decades ago.
From her work, to her fashion sense, like this purple and green striped scarf, Frida has managed to capture our hearts over the years, while reminding us that unibrows can be sexy as hell too.