On her death in 1954, Frida Kahlo’s belongings were locked away in the bathroom of her former home, The Blue House in Mexico City, as instructed by her husband, muralist Diego Rivera. It was only until 2004 that these intimate artefacts and personal belongings saw the light of day, exclusively in Mexico. Until now.
Frida Kahlo’s world—a cacophony of colour, cultural richness and deep emotions—is transplanted to London this summer, with the opening of the Victoria & Albert Museum’s show dedicated to her personal effects. “Making Her Self Up” is an extraordinary look at Kahlo’s life through her stunning clothing, jewellery and other objects on show. And to celebrate this feminist icon we’ve gathered a selection of designer furniture that encapsulate her aura.
Folk inspired design has seen a revival over the past few years, with the rise of tropical prints, handicrafts, bright colours, pottery and textiles. Think of a flamboyant rainbow of colours and over top maximalist interiors.
The interesting visual display of all these colours can be beautifully juxtaposed with black or dark grey pottery, which is very typical in Oaxaca, Mexico. Yet it’s not as common in this part of the world. You can achieve the look by adding black contemporary pieces (not necessarily black ceramics) to your interiors, transforming your space so it doesn’t feel kitsch or too reminiscent of the Day of the Dead ritualistic symbolism.
There are plenty of interior designer brands that are constantly (and thankfully!) inspired by Mexican traditions. The famous Acapulco chair, a colourful strung plastic seat in a super comfortable ovoid shape and an emblem of Mexico’s mid century aesthetic, is one that inspired the Tropicalia chair by Moroso adding to it a bit of Italian pizzazz with a touch of Latin joy.
Speaking of tropical, the lush modern wallpapers by Mind the Gap are ideal for the Mexican inspired vibe. The rich hues of the Tropical collection, the Exotic fruit or Birds of Paradise and Amazonia will make any room in your interiors stand out. If you feel slightly anxious at the thought of having a whole room covered in any of these wallpapers, opt for one wall. We recommend a living room wall or even one in your study or guest bathroom.
As the sun continues to shine, there’s no better time to revamp your garden furniture than with these one of a kind pieces from Mexican furniture brand Polart. The all-weather resistant materials are perfect for relaxing in your patio, pool, outdoor bar or deck. The colours won't fade away with water or the sun so you can relax knowing your outdoor space will look vibrant all year round. A cheeky nod to the colourful plastics used in traditional Mexican baskets, these pieces are fit for a queen.
As for Frida Kahlo, her image has become a regular source inspiration for many designers, makers and crafters alike. It’s not hard to find iconography on anything from cushions, jewellery, prints and clothes. We always wonder what she’d make of it? We prefer a tender approach, were we can get a gentle sense of a design’s Frida-esque origins but there are no neon signs around it.
What do you think?