"A ribbon around a bomb" was how the iconic artist Frida Kahlo was described at the recent exhibition about her life and work which I attended with Lovely Grey at the V&A. I knew little of her beyond that she was a Mexican artist and renown for her style. She was always to be found dressed to the nines and it was said that you tell a lot about her state of mind from the way she had braided her hair and what she had chosen to accessorise it with.
There were many of her glorious outfits on display [no photos allowed unfortunately] resplendent with paint stains and cigarette burns....so she really did practise what she preached and never dressed down whatever the circumstances. What came across so strongly was that she had had more than her fair share of tragedy....the birds of paradise coloured palette she was drawing from and the elegant layers covered the body brace she had to wear at all times [she had suffered terrible injuries in a bus accident as a teenager] and her built up shoes from her polio as a child. Sadly she contracted gangrene in her leg and she died within a year of having it amputated.
As Frida was one for her stunning clothes I'll link it up with some of the beautiful costumes from the museum's Textiles and Fashion Collection. I wonder if she would have approved of any of them? This really is a bit of trot through the contents of the cabinets!
The one below is a tea dress. I love the detailing on the back. It puts me in mind of a humbug.
How liberating it must have been for women as they were able to wear shorter length skirts and even trousers after The Great War. The proof that fashion goes round and round is seen with the rather modern looking pair of platforms. They actually date from 1937.
I haven't shared any photos from the 1940s because they were very plain and rather dowdy as was to be expected in times of rationing and utility clothing. The 1950s ushered in a decade of exuberance and colour. Am always a sucker for a bit of bling.
I remember my Mum having a maternity dress in this lime green and turquoise combination from the 1960s. She used it as a painting smock thereafter.
More platform soles and clothes reminiscent of my 1970s childhood.
Again I've missed out the 1980s. Having worn the originals the first time round they rather make me wince. Am not a fan....only have to watch the reruns of Top of the Pops to be reminded of some of the horrors I wore!! So bringing us bang up to date....more platforms and a rather fun 1960s style dress, but a modern interpretation. If you enlarge it you can see that the fabric design is rather natty.
Phew got there in the end!