Perhaps one of the absolute highlights of my trip to Mexico City was the visit to Museo Frida Kahlo or Casa Azul, the homestead to Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera, two giants in the history of Mexican painting. On a previous trip to D.F., I had the pleasure of visiting this quiet retreat nestled in Coyoacán, but this time was different because I knew that something special had happened in 2012. In November of that year, 300 items of clothing that had been locked away since her death in 1954 were released from their dusty cupboards and drawers and put on view for the public. Compiled into an exhibition curated by Circe Henestrosa Conoan entitled Appearances Can Be Deceiving: Frida Kahlo's dresses it is the first showing solely devoted to the artist's wardrobe and her approach to clothing as costume or performance. Completely enthralled with the delicacy of fabric and form, especially after spending time in Oaxaca with textiles earlier in the summer, I couldn't help but dream of swathing myself in layers in layers of lovingly stitched capes and skirts. As I wandered through the exhibit I began to better understand what it meant for Kahlo to use clothing as an extension and expression of her often tumultuous life one famously reported to be heavy with illness and romantic sorrow. The clothing, even sitting static, exuded a vibrating energy and I can only imagine what it felt like to enter a room in such regalia steeped in tradition. Only up until November of 2013, the opportunity to catch a glimpse of this collection is well worth the visit if you are in the area of Central Mexico.
BONUS! This very engaging video from the curator tells more of why the clothes were hidden for so long and lots more juicy details of Frida's life!