Peek Inside Frida Kahlo’s Secret Wardrobe, Hidden Away For 50 Years.

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When you look at Frida Kahlos' photos and paintings, you'll notice a recurring theme.

Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo's fashion sense is a lot like herself. It's colorful, complex, and filled with passion. Just looking at some of the things she wore tends to explain where she got her inspiration for her paintings. But when Frida passed away in 1954, her husband, Diego Rivera, sealed a wardrobe with her clothes and other belongings in a bathroom in their home in Mexico City. He also left instructions that the wardrobe had to remain hidden until 15 years after his death. Unfortunately, Rivera died in 1957 and the wardrobe remained locked for 47 years. Then, in 2004, this proverbial treasure trove was unlocked, which gave us a better glimpse at who Frida Kahlos was.


There are flowers on her hair, and even in some of the backgrounds like the back of this wall. This is probably because, like herself, flowers are full of colors, liveliness, and beauty.

Poster of the exhibition "Frida Kahlo: Connections among Surrealist Women in Mexico"

Case in point, take a look at this portrait from 1932 titled, "The Frame."

It's the ultimate selfie, and you'll find not only flowers represented on the canvas, but also birds which are a common theme in her jewelry, hair accessories and wardrobe.

The Frame, 1932

Classic cat-eye sunglasses were the rage among Hollywood actresses back in those days.

So naturally, Frida decided to sport some classic, cat-themed sunglasses of her own, because her self-portraits and paintings were da bomb and went down in history as some of the most amazing works of arts ever.

Ishiuchi Miyako

Frida certainly had a unique style when it came to accessories, like these black gloves.

But these items were old and fragile, so when Japanese photographer Ishiuchi Miyako photographed the collection of over 300 unseen relics, he used a 35mm Nikon camera with natural light to archive Frida's most private things.

Ishiuchi Miyako

Unfortunately, Frida died in 1954, just a few years shy of when Lycra was invented in 1959.

So she ended up knitting this mint green swimsuit out of cotton with her own two hands. So aside from being a prolific painter, she was a fashion designer too? Is there anything this amazing woman couldn't do?

Ishiuchi Miyako

Have you noticed anything a bit unusual about Frida's fringed boots?

Oh yes, there's a definite difference between the height of one of the heels. That's because she developed polio as a child, which left one leg shorter than the other.

Ishiuchi Miyako

They say that the only thing that separates us from animals is our ability to accessorize.

Well Frida certainly found lovely ways to accessorize, including wearing some interesting jewelry, like these hoop earrings with two birds and a blue flower in the middle. Coincidentally, she's seen wearing these in many of her paintings.

Ishiuchi Miyako

When Frida was in her 20s, she was involved in a horrible bus accident.

She wound up having to wear a full body cast for three months. But just like we often have our friends sign our arm or leg casts, Frida decided to paint her cast corset into a work of art, to mellow an otherwise terrible reminder of the pain she endured.

Ishiuchi Miyako

The Mexican painter, was often inspired by Mexican pop culture and native folk art style.

So she wore traditional Tehuana dresses like this one to honor her roots, while also using them to cover up her lower body, which had suffered a great deal of abuse from her childhood illness and accident later in life.

Ishiuchi Miyako

In 1953, Frida's right leg was amputated at the knee due to gangrene.

She had become extremely depressed over losing her leg, so she designed this prosthetic leg with embroidered red lace-up boots and a bell attached. Unfortunately, she passed away a year later of pulmonary embolism.

Ishiuchi Miyako

Frida's Tehuana Lacy Headdress was often a theme in Frida's painting.

Ironically, her husband, Diego Rivera didn't allow her to wear western clothes because he felt that Mexican women should wear traditional Mexican clothes. Despite this, Frida managed to rock the headdress the same way she did everything else in her life.

Ishiuchi Miyako

If you ever wanted to use the same nail polish as Frida, then you're out of luck.

Unfortunately the bottles found in her collection were practically empty or dried up. Revlon was founded during the Great Depression in 1932, by the Revson brothers and a chemist named Charles Lachman, who contributed the "L" in the name brand Revlon which Frida clearly loved.

Ishiuchi Miyako

When someone has suffered the way Frida has, you find ways to cope in unique ways.

According to her friends, Frida found a way to cope with her injuries and pain by creating elaborate outfits like this one. Some might say that it was her way of being in control of something despite losing so much control of her own body.

Ishiuchi Miyako

Here's a closer look at Frida's cast corset, and those holes weren't as empty as you might think.

If you take a closer look, you may notice that these holes are mirrored as part of the otherwise dreary design that Frida tried and succeeded to liven up.

Ishiuchi Miyako

Among the various rediscovered treasures was one of Frida's compacts.

Now in today's world, one might frown on smokers, but back in the day, women smokers were extremely trendy, and Frida was certainly a trendy gal.

Ishiuchi Miyako

This is another angle of one of the corset that Frida wore after the bus accident.

As a woman who suffered for the rest of her life from that bus accident that badly injured her in her 20s, Frida spent most of her life in hospitals undergoing surgeries by alleged professionals who could ease her pain, and wearing contraptions like this one to relieve the pain in her spine.

Ishiuchi Miyako

Of course, Frida didn't allow something like a corset to keep her from being a fashionista.

So she attached a skirt of green silk and lace to her body corset, because if you have to wear one, you might as well do it with a little fashion sense too.

Ishiuchi Miyako

After going through her wardrobe, the museum also discovered a brush with her hair strands.

It's not the same as having Frida there alive and well, but to touch the hair that was on her head is almost provocative, and who knows, maybe a scientist will figure out a way to clone Frida.

Ishiuchi Miyako

What we consider a T-shirt today is certainly not the same as what Frida use to call this back then.

Believe it or not, this old black thing is actually a T-shirt worn by Frida herself. From the looks of it, she might have used it to protect her clothes while she was doing one of her paintings.

Ishiuchi Miyako

Among the various finds were these stockings worn by Frida.

It's amazing to see how some of the traces she has left behind as an individual may not have meant as much back then as they do today, which is what Ishiuchi Miyako wanted to reflect when he photographed the artist's belongings.

Ishiuchi Miyako

By respectfully sifting through Frida's belongings, Miyako was able to share intimate details of her life.

Just like this Emir perfume bottle, which, although half used, tells us a little about this iconic artist's beauty ritual, not to mention what she probably smelled like all those decades ago.

Ishiuchi Miyako

Frida Kahlo had a flamboyant and cheerful spirit, which was reflected in everything.

From her work, to her fashion sense, like this purple and green striped scarf, Frida has managed to capture our hearts over the years, while reminding us that unibrows can be sexy as hell too.

Ishiuchi Miyako


Next, photographs of a hidden apartment in Paris that wasn't opened for 68 years.