“Mi vestido soy yo,” Frida Kahlo used to say—my clothing is me. More than 60 years after the Mexican artist’s death, her colorful embroidered clothing and vibrant skirts are still very much alive both in her self-portraits and beyond. Earlier this year, an exhibition in London showcased photographs of more than 300 items of her clothing, which her husband Diego Rivera had carefully stored in a room that remained closed for 50 years.
Kahlo’s look was inspired by the traditional clothes of the Tehuantepec region of southeast Mexico, where women often earn more money than their husbands and administer the family assets. She was fascinated by this unusual matriarchy and its velas, the festivities where Tehuanas dress up, wear extravagant gold jewelry and dance among themselves rather than with men.