The main thing that got me to Mexico City was the exhibition of a portion of Frida Kahlo’s wardrobe that has been on display in her museum, La Casa Azul, for the past year. This portion of the exhibit will be closing at the end of January and it was something that I have been dying to go and see since I first heard about it earlier this year.
Frida has been a major muse and inspiration to me for many years and I have a complete fascination with her life, her spirit and her style. She represents so many important things to me in what it means to be a real woman. She withstood so many hard ships and obstacles in her life and she overcame all of them with such radiance and dignity. To me, Frida represents a pioneer and a warrior and her perspective on her art and clothing personifies all that her spirit was full of: color, history, openness, complexity and individuality.
The museum is located in Coyoacan, one of the oldest and most beautiful neighborhoods of Mexico City. The Blue House was where Frida lived since his birth and throughout her life with Diego until the day that she died. When Diego passed, he left the estate to be converted into a museum in Frida’s honor in 1958, and today it is one of the most visited museums in Mexico City.
The house sits on beautiful grounds with several different structures that are connected to form the estate. The exhibit runs throughout the house starting with a gallery of Diego and Frida’s art and moving into their living quarters which are set exactly as they were left upon their death. The clothing portion is located in a separate building on the grounds. They call it “The Blue House” because it’s exterior is blue and is also used throughout the grounds and in the home.
A sampling of their work on display in the gallery:
Walking into Frida’s home was surreal for me. After spending many years watching all of the movies about her and seeing a lifetime of imagery, all of the moments in the house I have in my memory and it was so amazing to be right there viewing it exactly as it was when they lived there. The energy I felt within this portion of the house is indescribable. The objects that they had on display throughout the house showcased their love of the arts and were a testament to the soulful life that they lived together.
The kitchen was one of my favorite spots in the house. I couldn’t get over the color and the detail put into this room and I felt her spirit so much here.
The room below is outside of the kitchen down a flight of stairs and served as a sitting room. I was very intrigued by this room as it had much more of a darker feeling than the rest of the house with the portraiture that hung on the wall.
A walk up the stairway leads you directly to Frida and Diego’s studio. I was mesmerized by each of their work areas as well as their meticulous display of their art supplies which were exactly as they had left them when they died. I couldn’t stop staring at Frida’s wheelchair and the mirror on the table that she used for her self portraits. I stayed in this room for a good 30 minutes taking in every detail. Truly amazing.
Right outside of the studio sits Frida’s tiny bedroom that was set up so that she could view outside into the gardens. This spot was perched at the center of the estate with a staircase leading out into the grounds. The best and most beautiful light was streaming into her room which is why I feel sure they placed her there while she was bed ridden. To me, this was the most sacred spot in the entire house.
Right past Frida’s bedroom is Diego’s quarters which again represented a bit of a darker approach to their design aesthetic.
The exhibit of Frida’s wardrobe was on display within a separate structure on the grounds. All of the pieces were within glass and cases so it was really hard to get a clear picture. The color and the ethnicity of the garments is truly spectacular and the way she layered was quite unique. All of her prosthetics were also on display which gave a haunting insight into the deeply painful life that she endured because of her injuries.
At the end of the clothing display, there was a Vogue exhibit on fashion that was influenced by Frida. I was so excited to see one of my all time favorite Givenchy couture collections on display in a case. Ricardo Tisci’s Fall 2010 Couture collection was inspired by Frida Kahlo and her three obsessions: religion, sensuality and given the painter’s lifelong battle with spinal pain, the human anatomy. The detail and materials of these looks really blew me away and it was a total bonus at the end of an amazing journey through Frida’s life.
The entire experience at the museum was one of the most special I have ever had. To see an icon’s personal artifacts, where she slept and the clothes she wore…well it is something that will stay with me forever. I encourage anyone that has a fondness for Kahlo to go over to Mexico City and experience this special blue house. Of all the wonderful and amazing things that I saw and did on this trip, this was by far the most spectacular. A dream come true in every way.