At the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City (also known as Casa Azul, her family home and later the home Kahlo shared with her husband, artist Diego Rivera), one can glimpse Kahlo’s most personal affects from now until November 2013.
Smoke and Mirrors: Frida Kahlo’s Dresses displays 300 accessories, corsets, clothes and health contraptions worn by Kahlo that have been locked away for over 50 years since her death in 1954, aged 47.
These items include a prosthetic leg, her myriad of traditional, colorful, hand-embroidered tehuantepec huipil, long flowing skirts with lacy petticoats, and hard leather corsets she wore under her loose fitting clothes to hide a deformed body wracked by constant pain as a result of childhood polio and a tragic car accident in which a metal rod went through her abdomen, aged 18.
It was during her recovery from the accident that Kahlo started to paint as a way to pass time.
Most people know her through her surreal, sometimes bizarre, self-portraits donning colorful costumes, over the top jewelry, and enormous bright blossoms atop her traditional plaits.
Although iconic to us now, she was not considered fashionable during her lifetime. A staunch communist, she wore Mexican peasant clothing as political statement.
After Kahlo’s death in 1954, Rivera kept these personal items secret, away from the public eye. Upon his own death, he made a friend promise to keep this secret for another 15 years. This friend never revealed what was behind the sealed rooms in Casa Azul and eventually she passed away too.
In 2004, after 45 years, museum officials finally opened the rooms and to their delight, discovered this veritable treasure trove.
(images from here)