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Arts + Culture

Step into Frida Kahlo’s Closet

In February 2011, Ishiuchi Miyako took to La Casa Azul – Frida Kahlo's home – in Coyoacán, Mexico City, with a 35-mm Nikon. Flash-forward and the Japanese photographer has delivered the world's first photos of Kahlo's gorgeous, game-changing wardrobe.

With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, we’ve totally got Mexico on the brain. And yeah, yeah, we know it’s technically an American holiday, but we’ll take any opportunity to give a shout out to one of our favorite Mexican ladies – Frida Kahlo.

If you need a refresher (like Miyako did – she knew little about the artist before her project) – Kahlo was a painter (and early, unapologetic feminist) with inimitable style and best known for her self portraits. You know the ones…those with the milkmaid braids, flowers and signature unibrow. Through she didn’t have the easiest walk through life – she almost died twice (of polio and then a serious car accident), suffered from depression, had a tumultuous marriage to fellow artist Diego Rivera and many affairs with both women and men – she has remained a symbol of female creativity and power.

While Kahlo passed in 1954, her home has since been transformed into a museum, full of her work and previously undocumented possessions. In fact, the artist’s belongings were just discovered in 2004, having been hidden for nearly 50 years in one of the home’s spare bathrooms (under her husband’s orders).

Flipping through Miyako’s collection, Frida by Ishiuchi – images of Kahlo’s hand-embroidered Spanish fabrics, French silks and Mexican designs – the photographer’s background in textile design should come as no surprise. Her photographs, taken over a period of three weeks on film and lit only with natural light (no digital technology to be found), show a deep familiarity with her subject.

Beyond capturing the clothes, Miyako portrays Kahlo as a sophisticated, feminine intellectual – a style pioneer whose striking fashion sense was a window into her unique personality.

Peep her iconic wardrobe below.

All images are Courtesy of Michael Hoppen Gallery

Arts + Culture wearing clothing red dress colorful coat jacket gown yellow dance dress sleeve pattern spring fashion Design costume blue colored bright

© Ishiuchi Miyako, "Frida by Ishiuchi Miyako #2"

One particular fashion Kahlo popularized was the Tehuana dress from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca. The heavily embroidered dresses came out of a matriarchal society where women were known for their outspoken nature and dominance as buyers and sellers in their local markets (pretty fitting inspiration, we’d say).

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© Ishiuchi Miyako, "Frida by Ishiuchi Miyako #23"

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© Ishiuchi Miyako, "Frida by Ishiuchi Miyako #50"

Arts + Culture clothing yellow skirt dress abdomen Design pattern jacket trunk

© Ishiuchi Miyako, "Frida by Ishiuchi Miyako #27"

Arts + Culture clothing green turquoise knitting sleeve fashion accessory outerwear art crochet wool pattern textile neck Design sweater

© Ishiuchi Miyako, "Frida by Ishiuchi Miyako #84"

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