Posted on July 26 2018
Frida on the bench, 1939, photograph by Nickolas Muray © Nickolas Muray Photo Archives. Frida Harris, Making Her Self Up. V&A
I went to the V & A 's exhibition 'Frida Kahlo-Making Her Self Up' last week and came out feeling inspired and very moved.
I've always considered appearance and adornment to be an art form as well as an instrument of communication. Seeing how Frida Kahlo used these things as tools to convey her history, politics and the person that she wished to be seen as rather than the person whose gender, race and illness dictated she should appear, reinforced my views .
Frida Kahlo with Olmec figurine, 1939. Photographed by Nickolas Muray. ©Nickolas Muray Photo Archives
My Venezuelan background meant that the imagery presented in the exhibition had particular resonance for me. Kahlo's aesthetic which encapsulates the visually simulating Latin culture so well, is one of the many reasons that Frida has developed such a cult following within the world of fashion and design.
Guatemalan cotton coat worn with Mazatec huipal and plain floor length skirt. Museo Frida Kahlo. ©Diego Riviera and Frida Kahlo Museums
Frida's art has great depth and the ability to both tell stories and take you on a journey, and her personal style is also recognised and celebrated for the same reasons with its layering of colour, history and individuality.
England seems to be experiencing its first real summer in many years which makes the vibrant colours that Frida used seem all the more powerful and celebratory.
The team from the Simon Harrison have framed my shop windows in stencils inspired by Frida's floral headpieces and I'm gravitating towards jewellery that conveys the same colourful and textural energy.
Window stencils by Craig Hemming for Simon Harrison
The English company Cavendish French for instance, has the most gorgeous silver quetzal bird earrings that encapsulate traditional Mexican silver work and are very similar to the jewellery worn by Kahlo.
Mexican Silver Earrings by Cavendish French
Frida also had in her collection vintage jewellery by the wonderful Matilde Poulat (Matl) a designer who had been based in Taxco where the oldest silver mine in the world is, the art of Mexican silversmithing was born and where Poulat founded her company in 1934.
We are lucky enough to have a vintage pair of earrings by this iconic designer in our shop.
Vintage MATL silver screw back earrings at Alexandra May
Simon Harrison has also created a gorgeous Frida inspired necklace, earring and bracelet set inspired by the prickly pear, a plant so valued by Mexico that they have an image of it on their flag.
Bracelet from Simon Harrison Kahlo Collection. Necklace and earrings also available and the set also comes in luminescent grey.
So there you have it; splashes of colour and inspiration to embellish this incredible summer!
Revlon compact and powderpuff with blusher in 'Clear Red' and Revlon lipstick in 'Everything Rosy'; emery boards and eyebrow pencil. Before 1954. Photograph Javier Hinojosa ©Diego Riveriera and Frida Kahlo Museums.
Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up, 16 June-14 November. Sponsored by Grovesnor Britain and Ireland.