September 23, 2021

Mexican Magic: Frida Kahlo’s Fabric

Frida Kahlo

For the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo The piece was an incredibly powerful form of self-expression that made itself a unique symbol of the 20th centuryin century Immersing her body in traditional textile sheets and sheets, she adored the local pieces of Mexico with vibrant, overflowing prints and intricate ruffling and embroidery areas. More than just an aesthetic choice, these fabrics and clothes were a strong expression of Frida’s proud patriotism and loyalty to Mexico. But at the same time, Kahlo was a great source of comfort and armor, hiding and protecting the common physical ailments in art, and challenging them and making them a symbol of strength.

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Frida Kahlo, Leo Matiz, 1943, Coyoacán, Mexico. Private Collection. © Alejandra Matiz. Leo Matiz Foundation.

Kahlo was born in 1907 in a house known as Le Casa Azul (Blue House) on the outskirts of Mexico, to a German father and a Mexican mother. After contracting polio at the age of six, one of Kahlo’s legs became smaller and thinner than the other, and from that young age Kahlo adopted the pattern of wearing long, patterned skirts and placing three or four socks on top of each other to build support. in his shoes. Fashion, began to feel, can act as a form of transformation and disguise. A fatal bus accident in 1925, Kahlo’s spinal cord injury as a teenager, forced Kahlo to wear a cast and a leather corset to hold his body together, which deeply shaped Kahlo’s attitude toward clothing.

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Kahlo draws the cast

As Kahlo’s artistic experience expanded in the late 1920s, he began to adopt the traditional Mexican Tehuana style of dress, with embroidered headbands and ribbons, huipil or short blouses, and long patterned skirts. On the one hand, this style of dress is part of Kahlo’s family history – the photos show Kahlo’s mother composing it in a Tehuana dress. Kahlo may have chosen this style in the Tehuantepec Isthmus, southeast of Oaxaca, for its connection to the strong, matriarchal society in which the style originated.

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Frida Kahlo in traditional dress

Kahlo’s adoption of the Tehuana style came at a time when Mexican Education Minister José Vasconcelos was encouraging the adoption of traditional Mexican values ​​at a time of political responsibility for Mexico. Kahlo’s husband, Diego Rivera, was a leading Mexican muralist, and Kahlo’s celebration of Mexico sounded good with his political beliefs. Both artists rejected the homogeneous Hollywood style for a socialist celebration of local Mexico and the ability to pueblo or connect with people. Kahlo was 20 years younger than her husband Rivera, and with her bright Mexican fabrics and clothes, bright bold colors and prints, she stood out from him wherever she went. When he exhibited his work in Paris, Kahlo’s clothes attracted as much attention as art, and children on the streets of San Francisco asked him, “Hey, where’s the circus?”

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Frida Kahlo’s dress is on display at Casa Azul

At times, Kahlo mixed Tehuana clothing with pieces from Chiapas and other parts of Mexico, including rebozos (fringed shawls), enaguas (skirts), and holans. (runs away). Even patterned blouses included traditional European clothing, such as a look at his father’s German history or a mix of hand-painted corsets with religious and communist symbolism. But Kahlo almost always maintained the Tehuana style of construction with a short blouse and a long skirt. Kahlo also watched carefully as Tehuana highlighted her body and head with intricate ornaments and jewelry, diverting attention away from her lower body, allowing Kahlo to cross over where the disabled slept.

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Frida Kahlo, dressed in traditional Tehuana clothing, 1940s

Mexican fabrics and clothing, which struggled to cope with growing political challenges and potential health problems, were also a great source of comfort for Kahlo. Tehuana found it easier to wear the soft silks and cotton of her clothes because she was softer and more comfortable in a brittle frame, while short, loose huipil blouses slipped delicately over the restraining corsets she had to wear. As Kahlo’s health deteriorated, he continued to use fabric and fashion to express himself and be free. Mexican curator Circe Henestrosa said, “The more he suffered or felt worse, the more he wore jewelry.” It focuses on the cheerful and rising nature of the fabric that stretches to Kahlo’s house, which is filled with Mexican overflowing and joyful prints, patterns and textures. Hilda Trujillo, director of the La Casa Azul Museum, sees Kahlo’s runaway approach to clothing, fabric and art as his greatest legacy. It can turn pain into art. “

Dyeing and Fabrics, Uncategorized
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