Kahlo photographed in front of a cactus fence, San Angel, 1938 CREDIT: NICKOLAS MURAY
Caroline Leaper, fashion news and features editor
The Victoria and Albert Museum has this morning announced its major fashion exhibition for 2018, dedicated to Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s famously vibrant wardrobe.
Kahlo, one of the most innovative and influential painters of the 20th century, is widely considered a style icon thanks to her eclectic taste and love for colour, print and hauls of jewellery. The artist’s personal items, including necklaces, photographs and letters that have never been seen outside Mexico, will be displayed at the V&A from 16th June. An official title for the exhibition is yet to be determined.
“The V&A will present the first exhibition to be held outside Mexico of Kahlo’s clothing and personal possessions, including prosthetics, medicines, accessories, jewellery, photographs and letters,” the V&A said in a statement this morning. “These were discovered in the Blue House in 2004 following the opening up of cupboards and storerooms which had remained sealed for fifty years. This ground-breaking exhibition 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.”
Her work and her personal style were frequently intertwined, as evidenced in paintings such as My Dress Hangs There (1933) and The Love Embrace (1943) which will also be on show. She also brought her craft into her wardrobe literally, hand-painting dresses and corsets
Stars from Beyonce to Salma Hayek have routinely cited Kahlo as a fashion reference both in their work as well as in their personal lives. Hayek played Kahlo in Hollywood biopic Frida in 2002, while Beyonce credits her bold approach to dressing as an inspiration, and even once dressed up as the creative at a fancy dress party.