One of the first women to embrace the selfie – artist and feminist Frida Kahlo, employed the power of make-up (and a good folksy ensemble) to help bolster her career. Of course, this is not to say there wasn’t a complete powerhouse behind the visage too. She has become one of the most important female artists of the 20th century. She was a staunch feminist and communist, and her female-orientated paintings, her Self-Portrait On the Borderline Between Mexico and the United States, along with the female gaze, is as relevant today, as it was in the 30s and 40s.
Her image, life, and work are being celebrated today with an exhibition at the V&A, Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up. Over 200 of her personal effects, including clothes, makeup, medicines and prosthetics that were discovered in the famous Blue House – her family home in Mexico City, Casa Azul, where she was born, worked and died – are all on display in this intimate presentation.
Inspired by Frida? Me too.
If you want to find your inner Frida-esq beauty, then you have to start with the brows. My go-to girls are the staffers at Shavata, they’re all excellent at giving you the best brow shape and helping you to grow them in the right direction, plus give hints and tips on finding the perfect hue too. Then go for a pop of colour on the lips and cheeks – Bobbi Brown’s new limited edition Pretty Power Pot Rouge I, is an easy-to-use shade that can be dabbed on the go. Plus for each compact sold in the UK, the full RRP less VAT will be donated to Smart Works, a UK charity that gives high-quality interview clothes, styling advice and interview training to out-of-work women on low incomes – something I’m sure Frida would approve of. I also love the Art Stick – a chubby pencil that reveals your inner artist and acts as lipstick and liner in one. Even though Frida loved Guerlain’s Shalimar (as do I), I’m featuring a new fragrance, Cuadra by Paul Schutze, whose inspiration was the skies of Mexico. It’s a heady, smoky mix, full of bay, jasmine, and tobacco. More lipstick offerings are the beautifully packaged Charlotte Tilbury’s The Queen and also Avon’s newbie, Epic lipstick in Be Loud – that has a built-in primer for smooth application, stays put for hours and seals in 36% more moisture than regular lippies. Frida wasn’t a fan of mascara or nail polish – but I couldn’t help slipping in this lovely new shade from Essie, The Fuchsia is Bright. Want more Frida? Pop over to the V&A’s exhibition…
Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, sponsored by Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, at the V&A
16 June – 4 November 2018
Inside Frida’s beauty bag