Frida Kahlo Wears Huipiles is a blog about clothing and identity. And who more than Frida was an expert in creating an aura around herself via the clothes she wore.
Frida wore huipiles almost daily. She started wearing them after her marriage to Diego Rivera. The couple, sustainers of the Mexican Revolution and of a Mexican Renaissance, promoted native dress. And part of this native dress included huipiles.
A huipil is a traditional garment worn by indigenous women from central Mexico to Central America. The Mayan women wore them as they believed that clothing could transform a person just as a person could transform clothing, the two existing in symbiosis.
Mayans gave their huipiles a cosmic significance. Having the head placed in the very centre of the fabric has specific implications. When a woman places a huipil over her head, she enters a symbolic universe. As she sticks her head through the hole, she emerges into the external world and her body becomes the axis of the universe. She is the center of the world connecting the earth and the sky.
Years ago, because of environmental concerns, I began making my new clothes from old clothes. And these creations are called, collectively, Muy Marcottage. Because of its simplicity, the basic design of a huipil provides an easy pattern for recycling secondhand clothing.
As for myself, I live part of the year in Rome and the other part on the lovely island of Paros. But I was born in Texas. My childhood was greatly influenced by our housekeeper. Her name was Fela and she was from Piedras Negras. I grew up speaking Spanish, eating bean tacos and listening to rancheras. Almost a Mexican. The first drawings I remember doing were done in my mother’s books. I did a series of scribbles in Webster’s dictionary. My mother wasn’t impressed. I think I got into trouble but I kept drawing anyway. That is until I went to Catholic school. There they had rules about everything. Even about drawing. Stuff like: don’t draw to the margin of the page, don’t go out of the lines, don’t put pink next to red. All those rules made drawing a stress. Then I grew up and realized that those rules weren’t for me. They were for someone else…..Some people were born to be foreigners. I’m one of them. I can’t be homogenized.