Frida Kahlo was an expert at creating her identity. Nothing spoke of her identity as much as her clothing did, and Frida was masterful at using dress, both Western and traditional fashion, to create a self-portrait through clothing. According to CNN, she was able to use her clothes to construct an ethnic and political identity that sent a political statement dealing with cultural identity, nationalism, and feminism.
For nine nights, from October 12-21st, award-winning, cultural travel tour operator, Tia Stephanie Tours will take participants on an up-close look at Kahlo's Mexican and European roots, highlighting her purposeful use of dress, including for her wardrobe, her self-portraits and still life paintings and for posing in the now iconic photographs of her, taken by celebrated photographers, such as Nickolas Muray and Edward Weston. As a national icon, Kahlo was inspired by her roots, which shined through in her dress, creating a unique identity all her own. Frida Kahlo: Ethnographic Dress & Identity, a new title to Tia Stephanie Tours' lineup, will traverse not only the neighborhoods where Frida lived and frequented, such as Coyoacan and the Historic Center in Mexico City, but the itinerary travels to the regions from where Frida's clothing came, including Puebla, Oaxaca and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, birthplace of her mother. Frida loved the “Tehuana” dress and often appeared wearing this “traje” in many of her self-portraits and photographs.
The tour includes a lecture on the Dress and Identity of Frida, a visit to the Museum of Modern Art, an insider's tour of the “Blue House”, now Frida Kahlo Museum, a fashion show in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to learn about the history and evolution of dress from this singular region of Mexico, and more. Frida featured the dress of Tehuantepec in one of her paintings, “My Dress Hangs There,” seemingly to place herself in an out of “dress”, out-of-body experience, living between two worlds and identities.
“I am honored to share such an immersive package that includes visits to meet the regional artisans who continue the craft of creating ethnographic clothing, a trip to Frida's childhood home, a special “rebozo” expo-venta to learn of the iconic garment of Mexico, which Frida often wore. We have offered other tours on other dimensions of Frida Kahlo, namely her art, but this is the first one and only tour that focuses on her dress and the regions where they came from”, said Stephanie Schneiderman, founder of Tia Stephanie Tours.
This tour coincides with another opportunity to see Kahlo's intimate belongings up close which is through an exhibit at the United Kingdom's V&A Museum, which runs through Nov. 4. The exhibit, which includes artifacts never before seen outside of Mexico, showcases her possessions, including a cotton huipil with machine-embroidered chain stitch and a Guatemalan cotton coat worn with Mazatec huipil and plain floor-length skirt. For visitors to the exhibition, this tour offers a wonderful complement to see Frida's homeland in Mexico and the places that inspired her clothing!