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Appearances Can be Deceiving: The Dresses of Frida Kahlo

Appearances Can be Deceiving: The Dresses of Frida Kahlo

Posted by Alejandra Romo on August 30, 2013

The Frida Kahlo Museum is teaming up with Vogue Mexico to celebrate its 55 years, with an exhibit that is making history: Appearances Can be Deceiving: The Dresses of Frida Kahlo. A stroll through the 300 outfits and personal objects of the Mexican artist, explores reconstructing the identity of this iconic figure and her influence on contemporary design.

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), is considered to be the most famous Latin American painter in the XX century and a central figure of Mexican Art, and as the artist herself wrote on one of her drawings, which remained unknown for nearly half a century up until a few years ago, now identifies the exhibit: Appearances Can be Deceiving. The artist’s self-portrait depicts her naked body with a broken back and her leg covered in butterflies under an elegant outfit.

It is possible to interpret the multifaceted Frida Kahlo through the collection of garments, medication and personal objects she held onto during her life and work, as well as understanding the relationship she had with her body.

“Frida’s style was eclectic. She liked to mix colours, textures and the origin of her garments based on her emotion. She also liked designing or making changes to her clothes adding ruffles or laces to skirts and blouses to give it a special touch”, explains Hilda Trujillo, Director of the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera-Anahuacalli Museum.



La Appearances Can be Deceiving: The Dresses of Frida Kahlo is an exhibit displaying for the very first time, not only the artist’s garments allowing to reconstruct and put on show her personality, but the influence this iconic figure has had on international fashion.

“It has been incredible discovering the power of the photograph. “The motive behind the museum choosing us to represent this emotional and cultural homage”, assures Kelly Talamas, Chief Editor of Vogue Mexico and Latinamerica, is due to an image published in the October 1937 edition of Vogue along with a fashion interview which took place in La Casa Azul and another photo in Vogue on April 2011. Both were published inspired by this great Mexican icon.

The exhibit curator was Circe Henestrosa, who has also taken on other exhibits in spaces such as the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

The themes that lead the exhibit were ethnicity and disability, which in itself explains the inspiration for Frida Kahlo to choose the Tehuana outfit with pride and elegance, and which is embodied throughout the five rooms.

“Two tragedies have influenced Frida Kahlo’s wardrobe and became the cornerstone of her existence and art; The first, was suffering polio at the age of 6 which left her right leg useless for the rest of her life. This is one of the reasons Frida Kahlo started using long skirts, three to four socks on the thinner leg and shoes with a higher heel in order to mask the imperfection. The second event was the accident she had on September 17, 1925 while travelling on a bus that was hit by a streetcar causing serious wounds mainly to her torso”, explains the curator Circe Henestrosa.

“Frida Kahlo’s style and choice of dress is a result of her own strong sense of identity. An identity carefully built on physical pain, so obvious in her work”, points out Henestrosa.

The exhibition is open to the public until January 31, 2014.

Address: Londres 247, Del Carmen Coyoacán, Mexico City 04100




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