The New York Times has spoken: Frida Kahlo is having a moment. In 2004, her archive of dresses was finally opened to the public after being sealed, on orders of her husband Diego Rivera, for 50 years. Over the past 11 years, seamstresses have carefully repaired the garments, and fashion mavens, photographers and journalists have made pilgrimages to Mexico City to peruse the collection.
Enthusiasm for this treasure trove has recently reached a fever pitch—not simply for the garments themselves, but for the fascinating woman who curated and wore them. Nearly as much as her art, Frida's sartorial style marked her place in history.
Since Frida was a master influencer we wanted to take a closer look at her style and philosophy to see if there were lessons to be learned for today's influencers. Below are nine lessons she can teach us about becoming a tastemaker and authority in today's world.
1. Master the selfie.
But don't be afraid of not looking pretty. Frida's self-portraits were early versions of the selfie, and she presented herself in an honest, and sometimes unflattering, light. The key is being original.
2. Turn your perceived weaknesses into strengths.
Frida transformed her physical ailments into great displays of style in the form of colorful long skirts and decorated casts and prosthetics. Also see Jillian Mercado, who coincidentally did a very Kahlo-esqe photo shoot recently.
3. Pay attention to your surroundings.
What art, architecture or street style are you drawn to? Incorporate it into your style. Frida emulated the dress of the indigenous Tehuana women of Mexico, even though it was not de rigueur at the time.
4. Don't forget where you came from.
Your family, roots and upbringing might seem provincial after you've moved to the big city, but those things make up who you are and can help you achieve a special look. Frida (literally) wore her love of Mexico on her sleeve.
5. Let your beliefs influence your style.
Whether they're political, ethical, or even religious (modest style is certainly having a moment!), express your convictions with your style. Frida's communist beliefs led to her rejection of traditional fashion and what was trendy among her upper-class fashionable contemporaries.
6. Dress for yourself.
Not for your boyfriend, mom or the fashion police. Frida's outfits were far from normal at the time and they did anything but blend in.
7. Get dressed every day.
Frida's ensembles were life-affirming, and a way to not only mask her pain, but to give herself a vibrant presence in the world. Remember that next time you're feeling blue as you gaze into your closet.
8. Don't let getting older hinder your style.
Although Frida died when she was just 47, the older she got, the more flamboyant her costumes became. See also Advanced Style.
9. Wear flowers in your hair.
Because life is short.
[Photo via Dago-Art]