Coming to London Next Year: Frida Kahlo's Fashionable Clothes
In addition to being an artist and activist, Frida Kahlo—with her corsets, hand-embroidered silk skirts, and flower-adorned hair— was also a fashionista. Now, more than 60 years after the 47-year-old Mexican painter’s death in 1954, The Telegraph reports that the Victoria & Albert Museum in London is planning an exhibition dedicated to Kahlo’s eclectic sense of style.
Called Frida Kahlo’s Wardrobe, the exhibition is slated to run in 2018 from June 16 to November 4. Highlights will include the artist’s trademark Tehuana dress as well as paintings like My Dress Hangs There (1933); and hand-painted plaster corsets, which Kahlo—who was badly injured in a traffic accident when she was 18— wore to support her weakened spine.
Together, these statement pieces “will explore the development of Kahlo’s style as an amalgam of traditional Mexican garments, fashion from Europe and beyond, and demonstrate how her wardrobe was expressive of the complex relationship between her Mexican and Western heritage,” according to a press release for the exhibit. The museum calls its pairing of her wardrobe and self-portraits "unprecedented."
In addition to Kahlo’s garments and accessories, the exhibition will also include personal items that provide context for some of the artist's sartorial choices, including orthopedic devices and medicines, prosthetics (Kahlo's leg was amputated shortly before her death due to surgery-induced gangrene), and photographs and letters.
Frida Kahlo’s Wardrobe is billed as the first exhibition outside Mexico to feature Kahlo’s clothing and personal items. After Kahlo’s death, her husband, the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, locked away his late wife's belongings in a bathroom in their Mexico City home, requesting that it stay sealed until 15 years after his death. Rivera himself passed away three years later, but the room would remain shuttered far longer than his initial request. The Frida Kahlo Museum didn't began to catalog the hundreds of items inside until 2004. They’ve since been displayed within Mexico, but this will be their first appearance internationally.
[h/t The Telegraph]