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Once Upon A Time In Mexico — Fashions Inspired By Frida Kahlo

Last September, when I fawned over the Mara Hoffman Spring 2012 pieces displayed during her presentation as part of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City, I marveled at the collection’s overt Mexican influence — from the floral embroideries and folkloric prints to the serape-style striped patterns. Most of all, I was struck by the way models’ manes were braided into intricate updos and adorned with ribbons and flowers — likely an homage to the late Coyoacán-born painter Frida Kahlo. Since then, I’ve noticed a surge in the number of clothing items, handbags, scarves, shoes, and accessories inspired by Kahlo’s distinctive style and, moreover, incorporating materials, iconography, colors, and patterns emblematic of the vivacity and romanticism of Mexican culture. Want to tap into your inner Frida? Take a look at these style finds:

Johnny Loves Rosie Garland Headband, $33.14. Available at ASOS.com

This elastic headband, fashioned out of multiple braided cord strands adorned with faux roses, daisies, carnations, and sunflowers serves as a modern interpretation of the floral wreaths Frida typically donned.

Kenneth Jay Lane Beaded Tassel Earrings, $150. Available at MaxandChloe.com 

Kahlo loved chandelier earrings, so she would have swooned over these 4″-long Kenneth Jay Lane beaded tassel earrings, which feature oval-shaped gems at the ear posts with a gold metal periphery, followed by triangular, lantern-like caps that cluster together chain strands of round, glossy, jade-like beads.

Kate Spade New York Harmony Embroidered Straw Bag, $198.90. Available at Nordstrom.com

This square, beachy straw tote features thin, cherry tomato shoulder straps with a glossy finish and an embroidered design in a matching red hue portraying two parakeets facing each other, their silhouettes surrounded by lush leaves.



Pamela Love Silver Skull Pendant, $100. Available at NeimanMarcus.com

On October 30th, Mexicans observe the the Day of the Dead, a national holiday with ancient indigenous roots in which the living remember those they’ve lost and pay tribute to the deceased building altars and shrines adorned with skulls and marigolds. Given the significance of skulls in Day of the Dead symbolism, you can complete your Kahlo-inspired look with this Pamela Love pendant, which features an antiqued silver skull with a golden spike jutting from its chin.

Theodora & Callum Playa Tie All Scarf, $175. Available at TheodoraandCallum.com

Inspired by Mexico’s tropical beaches, the Theodora & Callum Playa Tie All features a wide border with deep red stitching framing oversize, painterly florals in deep shades of purple, orange, blue, and red, along with an oversize bird motif at the center of the linen-and-viscose material. Measuring 40″ by 78″, the Playa scarf can be worn as a scarf, sarong, or wrap.
Steve Madden Pammyy-M Aztec Print Wedge, $99.95. Available at Zappos.com
Even Steve Madden looked to ancient Mesoamerica when designing his Pammyy-M Aztec Print Wedges, which feature fabric uppers and even a wrapped 5″ wedge heel and 1 3/4″ platform — all featuring a geometric print in crimson, mustard, tangerine, and black shades.
Elva Fields in the Garden of Elegant Splendor, $328. Available at ElvaFields.com
Beaded necklaces figured among Frida’s accessories of choice, surfacing in many of her self-portraits (among them 1931′s “Frida and Diego Rivera” and 1933′s “Self-Portrait with Necklace”). This five-strand necklace, featuring vintage Indian glass beads, would surely have enchanted the stoic painter – particularly given her love of nature, which the round green beads so effectively evoke. Measuring 18″ in length, the necklace is further embellished by the incorporation of two pairs of vintage earrings, each with it own floral motif, as well as a larger rhinestone-adorned pendant at the center of the piece.
JWLA Floral Embroidered Tier Dress, $129. Available at LastCall.com 
Peasant blouses, dresses, and skirts are intrinsic components of folkloric Mexican dress. Building upon this foundation, this above-the-knee, sleeveless JWLA frock features embroidered floral all along the V-shaped neckline and smocked shoulder panels,  Black knit with multicolor floral embroidery. an A-line skirt with a ruffled hemline, and a lightly smocked waist.
West Coast Wardrobe Aztec Stack Wedge, $18.99. Available at BoutiqueToYou.com
Take your feet on a trip to Guadalajara with these peep-toe wedge heels, featuring serape-worthy stripes in mauve, cobalt, orange, purple, green, yellow, persimmon red, cream, khaki, and Merlot shades.

Cult Gaia Fiesta Crown, $88, and Cult Gaia Pink Lana Crown, $100. Available at CultGaia.Goodsie.com

Whether channeling Frida Kahlo or a Woodstock era lovechild, you’ll embrace your inner gypsy with these floral wreaths from Cult Gaia.


Sanctuary Printed V-Neck Top, $25.79. Available at LordandTaylor.com

This short-sleeved, V-neck blouse features vertical stripes, each with its own geometric motif, to create a virtual mosaic of shapes and colors.


Sea Salt Wayuu Mochilas, $120 each. Available at SeaSaltUSA.com 

Muzungu Sisters Dora Blouse, £84.00. Available at MuzunguShop.com

It may not be an authentic embroidered Huichol blouse, but this 100% white cotton blouse certainly pays homage to the traditional Mexican peasant blouse that has transcended geographical and cultural constraints to become a staple in the wardrobes of women all over the world. Hand-embroidered in Hungary by a third-generation artisan outside of Budapest, the Dora blouse features floral motifs, an elasticized waist, an a drawstring collar.



Holst + Lee Black and Yellow Necklace, $510. Available at HolstandLee.com

A single row of round onyx beads and a plethora of caged brass fixtures and knobs succeed in infusing an air of elegance into this textile collar necklace, featuring multiple strands of thread-covered cord.

Betsey Johnson Brritney Ballet Flat, $75.95. Available at Endless.com

In the Brittney flats, the tiled rows, diamond patterns, and cross shapes ubiquitous in Aztec iconography get a modern makeover through the use of bright, San Antonio-ready colors like pink, turquoise, and red. A dainty silver heel, meanwhile, gives the shoe a ladylike feel and a leopard print sole adds an unexpected dose of adventurous style.

Nevenka Printed Cotton Maxi Dress, $177. Available at TheOutnet.com

From its ruffled hem to its picturesque floral print, this 100% cotton Nevenka maxi dress features a twirl-worthy skirt that would make any señorita smile.

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