Frida Kahlo. What are you picturing right now? Braided hair, flower crowns, long embroidered dresses and, of course, the unibrow.
Kahlo developed an absolutely unique, artfully created look that erased the line between her art and her personal style.
Here is a pretty cool garment I recently acquired that made me think about the artist’s “traditional” dress and how she made a statement with it.
It’s a Tehuana dress and it’s from the town of Oaxaca in southeast Mexico.
Frida Kahlo famously wore this style and painted portraits of herself wearing it. Here is some of Frida’s wardrobe from an exhibit:
And a few photos of her wearing this style:
Kahlo was very conscious of image and symbolism as well as aesthetics. She knew she commanded attention with her personal style and she used this to express her thoughts about Mexican culture to the larger world.
On another level, it was also a feminist statement. Oaxaca has traditionally been a matriarchal society where women ran the marketplace and the economy, so she adopted their clothing style as a symbol of female power.
She also wore long skirts to disguise her physical disabilities, which she revealed in her paintings but not in her public life.
Kahlo’s clothing was a part of her art, and still commands attention 50 years after her passing.