Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving

1. Designer(s) / Creator:N/A

2. Name of the Artifact:Lace Headdress and Skirt

4. Origin: Mexico

6. Season/Year:Before 1954

8. Function – Head accessory worn for the church,wedding,and procession.

10. Fabrication – Made by lace, cotton, and ribbon to emphasize the femininity of the wearer.

11. Form – Traditional Maxican clothing.

The lace headdress and skirt are made of machine-made lace, cotton, and ribbon. They were traditional, and purposeful adornment for the Tehuanan women in Oaxaca State, Mexico as part of their wedding dress, which showed that this ensemble might be the one Khalo was wearing during her wedding in 1929. However, The color of the dress appeared to be disturbing and out of Frida’s character to me. Most of the customs displayed in the exhibition had bright, vivacious colors such as red, green, aubergine which somehow reflect the lively and bold part of Frida Kahlo’s personality. For her wedding dress, however, was in pale pink; this piece in her collection appeared to be weird to me.

Credit: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/15/fashion/frida-kahlo-museum-london.html

1. Designer(s) / Creator:  N/A

2. Name of the Artifact: Earrings 

3. Origin: Mexico 

4. Season/Year: 1900-30

5. Function – adornments wearing on ears, Sold from a jewelry store in the Mexico city.

6. Fabrication – Created by gold-plated metal, silver, and glass. 

7. Form – Not given

The earrings were made delicately by different kinds of metal and glass. In the middle in the golden circle, there were two silver birds stepping on a leaf, and two small black glass made gems in the center. It somehow reminds me of the modern earrings today because of its design. Its form constructed with natural elements, which was a significant design component in all kinds of cultures and Kahlo’s notion of beauty. Even in the present, the earrings can also transform a notion of beauty with the delicacy. Kahlo purchased this pair of earrings from a jewelry shop in Mexico City, where her parents first met and wore them when her father took a picture of her in October 1932. The earrings might be a symbol of kinship to her.

1. Designer(s) / Creator:  N/A

2. Name of the Artifact: Huipil and skirt 

3. Origin: Mexico 

4. Season/Year: before 1954

5. Function – ensemble that has a purple short sleeve top and a long red skirt.

6. Fabrication – Made by cotton in traditional Mexican style.

7. Form – Traditional Tehuana dress that shows a combination of Kahlo’s political beliefs and Mexican nationality. It also provides her enough room to accommodate medical corset and cover her physical disabilities.

The ensemble has a very strong color contrast between the red top and purple skirt, which reminded me of the Mexican dancers. The garments are made of cotton in traditional Mexican style. Frida Kahlo might wear this dress for some kind of Mexican festivals. Bright color combinations were very popular in Mexican costumes during that period of time since bright colors convey a sense of passion and vividness to people. The red and purple also imply the radical, bold and lively characteristics of Khalo not only as a female artist but also a patient with disabilities that had a strong will.

Credit & Source: https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/sew-your-own-mexican-style-huipil

In the painting “ Self-Portrait as a Tehuana”, Kahlo was wearing the same lace headdress as the headdress that was placed right next to the image in the same exhibition room, The white lines that seemed like the thread of the lace and the black lines crawling as the roots of the leaves had formed a spider web. The image of Diego at the center of her forehead and net looked cruel and indifferent. This reminded me of the “Mona Lisa” with its composition.  However, the atmosphere of Kahlo’s painting appeared to be creepier to me.

Credit & Source: https://www.fridakahlo.org/self-portrait-as-a-tehuana.jsp#prettyPhoto[image1]/0/

 

The overall experience of visiting the exhibition is interesting and inspiring. Every piece of garment and adornment in the collection has part of Kahlo in it, which like a small puzzle of her identity, sensibility, and memory. Just as the title of this exhibition,“ Appearance can be deceiving”,the vivid colors of Frida Kahlo‘s clothing can be a cover that does not just hide the traumatic experience in her life but also convinces herself as a strong individual female artist to fight with her disabilities.

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