Dior creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri was inspired by photographs of Kahlo’s fashion “bending the rules of gender boundaries.”
Not everyone knows that Mexican painter Frida Kahlo often dressed in long, full skirts because she had polio, which made her right leg shorter than her left, and she hid her limp even as a child by wearing several pairs of socks on one foot.
But everyone knows that Frida Kahlo was an extraordinary woman who painted, lived and loved with a passion.
An icon in the art world and feminism, Kahlo dealt with the inequalities of the early 1900s on her own terms, living her life the way she wanted to. She painted 200 paintings of mostly still life, portraits of herself and her friends, abortion, breastfeeding, miscarriage.
Her marriage to painter Diego Luna, who was both her mentor and inspiration, was tumultuous—today’s equivalent of rag sheet fodder. The two artists were married in 1929, divorced in 1940 and got married again in the same year.
The world’s enduring image of Kahlo is courtesy of her self-portraits (she painted 55)—her unibrow, her colorful interpretation of the traditional Tehuana dress with embroidered blouses and a hairstyle associated with the women of Oaxaca, Mexico.
Kahlo’s larger than life artistic style and personal life have inspired many things, from fashion to art to our own perception of beauty.
And, now, Dior’s Cruise 2024 collection under creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri. The French house staged its Cruise 2024 fashion show yesterday, May 21, in Mexico City. The show was held at Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso, where Kahlo studied and met Diego Rivera.
Dior describes Mexico as a “constellaton of places that’s park emotions,” “a place of the soul” for its artistic director.
“The emblematic figure of Frida Kahlo continues to offer a powerful connection to this culture, celebrated at the heart of the Dior cruise 2024 collection. The Mexican artist transcended her body through her clothes, which became representation, proclamation, protest, and affirmation,” according to the House of Dior. “Like a precious jewel case for a broken body, a cocoon-case concealing a butterfly.”
Chiuri was inspired by photographs of Frida Kahlo “bending the rules of gender boundaries” and the local artisans whose “expertise shines with original embroideries, co-creations crafted with their ateliers.”
“From the age of 19, Frida wore a men’s three-piece suit, transgressing her femininity to claim an independence above all intellectual. Suits thus pay tribute to her style while, in counterpoint, echoing the Tehuana custom, full skirts are worn with a traditional tunic: the huipil.”
If Kahlo saw Dior’s 90-piece collection, which puts the culture and artisanal tradition of her beloved Mexico, the artist would be very pleased.