Everything you need to know about The V&A’s new exhibition on Frida Kahlo offering a fresh perspective on the iconic Mexican painter’s life and art.

Whether you know her for her emphatic eyebrows or her surrealist pictures, you probably know something of Frida Kahlo. Now, you have the chance to learn a whole lot more about the woman behind the works. The V&A has pulled together a landmark exhibition of her clothes and accessories that opens in London in June.

Locked away for 50 years after her death, this collection has never been seen outside Mexico before. On display will be over 200 beloved artefacts. Some of them are remarkably intimate. The exhibition includes, for instance, the prosthetic leg Kahlo had to wear after she contracted gangrene in 1953; an array of her typically beautiful make-up bottles; the eye pencil responsible for those brows; and the medical corsets she wore as a result of childhood polio. We will also see many of her dresses, letters, photographs and trinkets.

Kahlo carefully cultivated her image. The V&A’s senior fashion curator, Professor Claire Wilcox, says: “A countercultural and feminist symbol, this show will offer a powerful insight into how Frida Kahlo constructed her own identity.”

Her co-curator, Circe Henestrosa, says: “The exhibition will be a very personal experience with deeply individualised objects on show, particularly her corsets, which she decorated and painted, making them appear as though she had explicitly chosen to wear them. She included them in her art and in the construction of her style as an essential wardrobe item, almost as a second skin.”

Frida fans will love the merchandise available in the V&A’s online shop too. The haul includes a beautifully produced hardback book of specially commissioned photographs of items from the exhibition; an eye-popping magenta shawl (rebozo) inspired by the ones the artist wore; and a couple of gorgeous Frida-style headdresses created for the V&A by Royal Wedding florist, Philippa Craddock.

The exhibition is on from June 18 until November 4 and costs £15 a ticket. Book now, before it’s too late.

June 2018