The dramatic unveiling of Kahlo’s wardrobe, kept under lock and key since the artist’s death in 1954, led to the discovery of 300 distinct pieces from her collection. Many of the items form the basis for a temporary, Vogue-sponsored exhibition, “Appearances Can Be Deceiving: The Dresses of Frida Kahlo” (open through January 31, 2014). Kahlo’s iconic sense of style is given a second life through the display of traditional Tehuana dresses, huipil blouses, silk shawls, and heavy jewelry, once layered to conceal a body crippled by illness, accidents, and surgery.
Bypassing a visit to La Casa Azul when in Mexico City would be like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. It’s a tourist trap to be sure, but the Kahlo family home, with its cobalt blue walls, leafy courtyard, and living quarters as the artist left them, remains an enchantment. And something new was added last year: Frida’s fashions.
SLIDESHOW: The Dresses of Frida Kahlo
Her decorated corsets, braces, and prosthetics are shown in parallel with haute couture creations by Givenchy and Jean Paul Gaultier, a testament to Kahlo’s enduring influence on contemporary fashion.