If you are familiar with the Alexander Henry range of fabrics you will know what I’m talking about. You will either think ‘Why? Why would anyone want to wear a dress with Frida Kahlo’s face emblazoned upon it?’ ‘ or, like me, feel driven to make something, anything, for the subversive thrill of wearing something wild, bold and so truly f-ridiculous.
There’s something about her – colourful, shocking, beautiful, ugly. You only have to hear that she orchestrated her own cremation which had her sitting upright in the flames, her hair alight and encircling her face like a halo, to know that she represents a spirit so wild that you simply have to wear a piece of her. To wear Frida may not be to be Frida but the frou-frou of a Frida Kahlo skirt might allow you, just for a moment, to experience the tingling thrill that you might be behaving a little subversively yourself (by material association).
But which Frida to wear?
I initially wanted to make the Vogue Options pattern (the V8555) in this material –
The colours are so rich, so, well, colourful. Then there are the hearts and flowers.
I initially saw the material online before taking myself off to the fabric shop (FloJo’s on The Gloucester Road) to buy it. I was on a mission. My mind was made up. I pulled the roll off the shelf with certainty but as I opened it out I saw this –
Thorns – good, Viva Frida – good., hair in Frida-floral arrangement – very good. But her face. A rogue brushstroke taking the tip of her nose up and another drawing her eyelids upwards had inadvertently endowed her with a very definite porcine quality. I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t want an ugly-Frida dress. Wild. Gutsy. I would even consider a few skulls (not lots) and bleeding hearts here and there. But a piggy Frida. No. I put the material back and, with a heavy bleeding heart entwined with the thorns of remorse, I walked away.
Time to re-think my Frock Frida-y!
…which I duly did. I turned to a Frida-fabric which I had initially rejected.
And found my Frida. It wasn’t the delicious turquoise of my first Frida fabric love but Frida herself was Frida. The Frida face I had come to know, love and want to wear. Yet, believe it or believe it not, it lacked boldness. The cream background just did not do it for me. And though Frida be beautiful this was not enough for me.
So I took myself off to the dark side where I considered the same pattern in a different colourway –
That was better. Frida’s shawl dazzled. Even the parrots’ plumage came alive.Decision time was looming and I was inclining towards the boldness of the black.
As I looked at the remaining styles I became more fixed in my choice.
As a woman gets on in years she can less realistically go for the ironic fashion statement that a female skeleton brings to an outfit. Less irony, more near future. Although it did come in lovey colours –
But no, I resisted and refused to get my head turned.
Talking of which –
Amor or otherwise, what is for sure is that after perusing the skull selection I nearly went running back to my first Frida love –
but as I went to buy it I looked down at her and I’m sure she said ‘Oink! Oink!’
Back to black Frida! If only they did the Frida-black-background in a Frida-turquoise-background. But they don’t. Sometimes one has to accept what one can’t change. Oh dear. Procrastination. Will I buy black Frida or won’t I?!