Frida’s just another word for something great to wear
An exhibition of Frida Kahlo artefacts at the Victoria & Albert Museum is inspiring stuff for fashion lovers
Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist whose unflinching self portraits made her a famous artist of the early 20th century.
Her personal style helped, too. Kahlo used traditional Mexican clothing – embroidered folk dresses, square-cut blouses, tiered skirts and bright red boots – to create an indelible impression on everyone she met, and everyone who met her through her paintings. Floral headpieces and surrealist jewellery made fantastical finishing touches.
After years of seeing her fashion influence appear mainly in the form of festival flower crowns, we’re now in the midst of a Frida bonanza. The vivid floral embroideries on dresses, tops and handbags all over Europe are part of this wave, which will no doubt reach southern shores.So was Christian Dior’s recent cruise show, for which designer Maria Grazia Chiuri imported a troupe of Mexican escaramuza riders and outfitted every last model in densely embroidered dresses and tiered skirts.
The obvious catalyst to all this Fridaness is Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, a new exhibition of artefacts at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. It’s why, come summer, we’ll see a lot more technicolour embroidered folk dresses, tops and yes, even flower crowns as the trend filters down to South Africa. And why not? We could all use any excuse to be more Frida.
Tracking the trend
1971: Hippie florals
After Kahlo, some of the first women to embrace her vibrant, heavily embroidered style of folk dressing were the hippies of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
2002: Frida for a new centuryThe Mexico City premiere of the film Frida marked the culmination of a multi-year campaign by actress and producer Salma Hayek to make a biopic about Kahlo’s life. Hayek celebrated by channelling her muse on the red carpet (and by going on to clinch a Best Actress Oscar nomination).
2018: Dior CruiseDior creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri looked to Mexico’s escaramuza horsewomen as inspiration for her 2019 Cruise collection – the troupe of riders wore layered, embroidered skirts and dresses for a performance.
© The Daily Telegraph