There’s no denying that famed 20th century Mexican painter Frida Kahlo lived with an It factor that still continues to permeate pop culture today. Selma Hayek Pinault’s dramatic 2002 portrayal of the late feminist figure (who died in 1954) landed her an Academy Award and Golden Globe nomination for her starring role in Frida. And the New York Botanical Garden meticulously decorated its conservatory with period works of art and floral arrangements that highlighted the artist’s vitality in Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life, an exhibit that the museum showcased in 2015.
Now, Mexico City- and Madrid-based fashion journalist Susana Martinez Vidal has put the pieces to the puzzle together in Assouline’s new book, Frida Kahlo: Fashion as the Art of Being ($195; assouline.com). Housed within a brightly colored neon pink and bright blue cover and slipcase, the pages of this new title, perfect for your latest colorful coffee table addition, are filled to the brim with imagery that highlight just how much style Kahlo had. Across the selection, which begins with a foreword written by journalist Lynn Yaeger, you’ll find archival imagery of the figure’s at-home life, wardrobe predilections, and, of course, the self-portraits she’s so beloved for.
It includes a roster of recreated pieces that have run across editorials in international fashion magazines and also showcases how Kahlo has inspired designers and pop culture figures (think Madonna and the late Amy Winehouse) in their work. Here, a selection of photos from the book that truly do pop.
FANCIFUL ATTIRE (ABOVE)
This image from 1940 finds Kahlo dressed in a traditional Tehuana dress, which women in and near Tehuantepec, Mexico, wore.
1. GRAPHIC GALORE
Kahlo’s bedroom contained plenty of graphic bedding and similarly styled rugs and blankets that spoke to her sensibility. The bed is where she took inspiration from for her painting, The Dream.
2. Memory or The Heart, 1937
As seen in the book, this painting finds Kahlo in a blue and green field with surreal hanging dresses that are each attached with arms. Kahlo, clearly, is missing her hands. So what’s the meaning behind the art? According to Fashion as the Art of Being, the missing hands represent “her helplessness and despair,” a direct reaction to her husband Diego Rivera’s infidelity.
3. DIEGO TE ADORO, 2013
French contemporary artist Corinne Dalle-Ore’s piece depicts Kahlo’s style.
4. A COLORFUL WARDROBE
Situated just outside of Mexico City, Kahlo’s home is otherwise known as Casa Azul for its cobalt blue walls. Here, a garment regularly worn by the artist hangs inside of her at-home studio.
5. MODERN DAY MUSE
Spanish model Laura Ponte sported this oversize blue dress in the February 1998 issue of L’Officiel to honor the artist.
6. LOOK-ALIKE BEAUTY
Ponte sports a flower crown, rosary, and sheer cardigan in the same L’Officiel editorial.
7. Frida Kahlo: Fashion as the Art of Being
The glossy book is now available at assouline.com.