Sixty years after her death, Frida Kahlo, whose colorful clothing, crown of braids, and signature red lip lent to her distinctive look, is inspiring more collections than today’s fashion it-girls. Designers have drawn elements from her style and art, reworking them into their collections in overt and subtle ways. And it’s hard to blame them. We’re not short on Frida curiosity. Take her recently unearthed wardrobe for example, which was locked away in a bathroom for 50 years after her death. When Ishiuchi Miyako’s photographs of the clothing were displayed at the Michael Hoppen Gallery in London this year, the Internet went crazy sharing the intimate images of her clothes and personal items.
It wouldn’t be surprising if we saw more designers draw inspiration from these photos for the upcoming SS16 shows. After all, Frida wasn’t following trends; she was doing her own thing, which seems like a natural place to start with a fashion collection.
Whether or not designers fall for Frida once again in the spring, there are plenty of times she has served as a muse. Here are just six times Frida was tagged to a designer’s inspiration board:
Rolando Santana, SS14
For SS14, Mexican designer Rolando Santana headed to Frida’s Caza Azul. He and his team got a look into her workspace and her clothing, where he was most struck by a skirt with red paint on it. He even asked his friend, Yeweng Wong, to paint 50 portraits of Frida for the invitations. Despite this, the collection was subtle, with straps and flowery prints being the most recognizable connections to Frida. The collection, which started with all-white looks, also got increasingly more colorful as it went on.
“I wanted to break conventions with this collection as Frida did, from her honest self-portraits to her personal style. Her life is of beauty and pain, and how she yearns for allegre – one of her few famous last words,” he said.
Givenchy, Resort 2010 and Fall 2010 Couture
In his time at Givenchy, Ricardo Tisci has proven that he is a fan of Frida. In June 2010, he presented a resort collection based on her animal-filled paintings. A month later, he presented his couture collection, which was once again inspired by Frida. This time, he focused on the human anatomy, interpreted through naked dresses and spinal column belts.
Tia Cibani, SS14
Tia Cibani’s trip to Mexico for a wedding first shaped her Spring 2014 collection, but eventually Frida became one of the focal points. The models even sported braided crowns walking down the runway. “After taking a short trip to Mexico for a friend’s wedding, I came back feeling super inspired to use color,” she told Refinery29. “I then pursued a courageous palette of clashing shades and patterns that are indicative of the spontaneous use of color in traditional Mexican dress.” It’s also a great description of Frida, who reportedly used more elaborate outfits as she felt more physical pain.
Kris Van Assche, SS08
Kris Van Assche is perhaps proof that whenever someone looks to Mexico, Frida’s not too far behind. For Van Assche’s Spring 2008 collection, Mexico may have been the reference point for the color palette, but the models sported orchid-decorated braids and Cara Delevingne’s everyday brows.
Maiyet designer Kristy Caylor looked to Frida’s portraits, but she focused on Frida’s painting process, making it the least obvious collection based on the artist.
Valentino, Resort 2016
For Valentino’s Resort 2016 collection, Frida was captured through the flora and fauna that were a popular part of her art. Dresses, suits, and skirts had embroidered flowers and butterflies on them. The collection was able to successfully mimic Frida, but this and the other collections still leave us wondering if Frida would have approved of these looks.