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Monday, December 3, 2012

Frida's Closet

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 12:44 PM

If you have the means and the presence of mind to book yourself on a flight to Mexico in the next five months or so, I have one request in the name of vicarious living: Pay a visit to Appearances Can Be Deceiving: The Dresses of Frida Kahlo, now on view at the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City.

Kahlo of course is famous not only for her often-disturbing self-portraits but for her personal style, and she used clothing very expressively, both disguising her physical disabilities (she had terrible luck with buses) and announcing her cultural identity. The story goes that when she died her husband Diego Rivera guarded a closet full of her belongings, entrusting it to his friend Dolores Olmedo after he died, who then proceeded to safeguard it until she died, at the ripe age of 93, in 2002. With Olmedo the private campaign to safeguard Kahlo's personal effects, from clothing to perfume and prescriptions, against mishandling came to an end, but they ended up in the trustworthy hands of the museum and Vogue Mexico.

Due to the involvement of the latter, Appearances not only displays Kahlo's belongings as a historical archive but contextualizes her influence on fashion design with excerpts of collections from Jean Paul Gaultier, Comme des GarÇon, and Givenchy. Due to the fragile nature of the materials, it's doubtful the exhibit will travel far, if at all, so stateside we'll have to content ourselves with reports and glimpses like the one documented in this interview with exhibit curator Circe Henestrosa:

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