for Frida

My first real taste of Mexico came when I was about 5 years old and our neighbor’s relative came to visit us from Puebla.  She brought me a sugar skull from the Dia De Muertos celebrations.  It was bright white and painted with flowery purple embellishments.  Despite my youthful sweet tooth, I was much more interested in preserving it as long as possible until it finally crumbled to pieces.  This gift was the beginning of my curiosity and appreciation of the way their culture of honors and celebrates the dead.

I remember the first time that I saw the Frida Kahlo art book that my dad had just purchased, and I explored it with a childlike curiosity wondering about the colorful woman with the exaggerated unibrow and her intense and emotional portraiture.  It was not a beauty that I was able to fully understand at such a young age, but I know the images certainly left an impression on me as they were quite unlike anything else I had ever seen.  Over time, my emotional response and appreciation for her colorful embellishments of her tragic life flourished, and I often revisited that book through the years. I eventually made a pilgrimage to her home, La Casa Azul, in Mexico City.  It was a journey devoted through and through to her lush, bold color palette, and I was inspired to wear the most colorful clothes I could find.  I wore a bold rust and teal dress with a petticoat to her house and bought bright scarves from the store there.  Me and my best friend delighted in posing in our very Frida-esque ensembles in her garden.

Taking these two great inspirations and combining them, I decided to celebrate Frida’s colorful symbolism and passionate lifestyle by dressing as her in sugar skull style with petal flourishes and bones bursting into bloom.