ELISABETH NEWTON PEARLS
Artist Frida Kahlo’s closet unlocked its doors for the first time in almost 50 years. Known as much for her groundbreaking artwork as for her acute sense of personal style, Kahlo combined traditional Mexican garb with an acute sense of self.
Kahlo’s husband, artist and political muralist Diego Rivera, locked Kahlo’s closet immediately upon her death in 1954 to keep her belongings from being mishandled and exploited. The closet and its contents were later entrusted a close friend, Dolores Olmedo, who decided to keep it locked for the rest of her life. Over 300 personal items – clothing, shoes, photos, medications, jewelry and love letters – greeted museum curators and archivists as they opened the doors for the first time in 2010.
I adore – and greatly respect – unique fashion icons such as Kahlo. As an art historian, I am intrigued with seeing her personal belongings alongside her self portraits; as a lover of fashion, I am completely intrigued with her wonderful sense of self.
The exhibit, titled Appearances Can Be Deceiving: The Dresses of Frida Kahlo, is on display at Diego and Kahlo’s former residence now museum Casa Azul in Mexico City through Novemeber 2013.