frida's personal style (or, dressing as an art)

ever since i saw the frida kahlo retrospective at the tate modern in london in the summer of 2005, i've had an little obsession with her. i am intrigued by her story, her intelligence, her work and her compelling persona, not to mention her exotic, irreverent beauty. i have been reading her biography since last week. this book is like food! i cannot get enough.

the passage below struck me particularly deeply. why? because i have always believed that clothing, and style is an art, that it goes deeper than the surface, deeper than just fibers that cover and protect our bodies from the elements. clothing and fashion communicate, and are a form of personal expression. fashion is not always frivolous. the way frida presented herself was intertwined with her art, as she herself was the most common subject of her body of work.

"For Frida the elements of her dress were a kind of palette from which she selected each day the image of herself that she wished to present to the world. People who watched the ritual of her dressing recall the time and care she took, her perfectionism and precision. Frequently she tinkered with a needle before donning a blouse, adding lace here, a ribbon there. Deciding which belt would go with what skirt was a serious matter. "Does it work?" she would ask. "Is it good?" "Frida had an aesthetic about her dress," painter Lucile Blanch remembered. "She was making a whole picture with colors and shapes."

-from Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera