We have got our huipils finished, and our skirts (or trousers), and our hair is coiffed and we are sporting a head-dress. Do we need to do anymore?
Not necessarily! There is always the danger of overdoing this look, and turning it into fancy dress. The vast majority of you are people who like to create “wearable” looks. I am the same. But if you want to put a look together, perhaps only for a one-off photograph, there are a number of things you can do to absolutely nail the look. None of these takes very long, and if you use the “more is more” principle you can get the full Frida look in a few minutes and at minimal cost.
Frida invariably wore a shawl or long scarf, incorporating this traditional item into her outfits to lend colour and style to an outfit. They were some of the most valuable items in her wardrobe. These would have been woven in specialist workshops, embellished with intricate and knotted fringes. They were both comfortable, luxurious and introduced an important element of colour and design into her unique style. Frida wore her rebozos in many different ways – draped over the shoulders, low at the back, across the body like an ammunition belt, and covering her head. This rebozo, in the collection of the V&A, looks like a little jacket with a stand or shawl collar. I love the stripes. I must admit I have an aversion to shawls. Maybe something to do with the 1970s. But recently, to cope with over-cold air conditioning at a dinner, I tried one and rather enjoyed it. So take this opportunity to use up another rectangular piece of fabric that you love but cannot yet find a use for. Or a table cloth, or a hand woven item perhaps. The rebozo could bring in a third colour, or it could be patterned to pick up other colours. Bella’s rebozo was made from African wax fabric, and her Mum wore my hand-woven scarf. (Just seen on her wrists in the second photo below)
Here, two of my models wear rebozos that complement their outfits.
It’s all about the eyebrows, but I would avoid going for the full monobrow. Just strengthen them a little – if you are fair you get quite a marked effect by darkening and emphasising. We used brown shadow to enhance our brows and extended them slightly at the inner edge. Mascara, yes and also lipstick. If you have read my book here is beautiful Bella again, this time with her Mum and little sister.
Frida invariably wore lots of jewellery. She had important earrings and her necklaces were bold and often comprised local materials or antique artefacts. She regularly wore lots of rings, sometimes one on each finger.
None of our models had any sensational jewellery to wear, but if you have something dramatic, or sentimental, or from your own folk tradition, why not put it on? Although a head-dress with local plant material and poms poms made by a five-year old were good enough for us. I embellished Maia’s T-shirt with dark purple lace and four granny squares. The yellow crocks were the model’s own!
Once we were all made up we like Frida we put on the Mexican music and organised a catwalk around our houses, dancing and swaying, and showing off our clothes. And finally – we had a #DresslikeFridaSAL party. Four ladies, one teenager and three little girls all dressed like Frida. Our men did the cooking, except William, our youngest grandson. He just enjoyed the cuddles.When you have made all your items (augmented with RTW if you like), assembled them and put them on, please ask someone to take a portrait of you, dressed like Frida, against a suitable background. Maybe a brightly coloured wall, or in your garden, or by a mirror as Frida may have done. Possibly with your dog, or baby, or monkey – if you have one. Or with an artefact from your heritage. Concentrate on the colours, wear your hand-made items with pride and joy, dressing with care. Make yourself up, do your hair and express the most creative version of yourself. Use our hashtag to share if you are on Instagram, or blog it. And please send it to me for a final round-up. The best bit!!