Photo: Frida Kahlo's rebozo
The traditional Mexican rebozo, or shawl, that late Mexican painter Frida Kahlo used to wear is the focus of the “Made in Mexico” exhibit that opened June 6 and will run until Aug. 30 at the Fashion and Textile Museum in the British capital.
The exhibit explores the role that fashion has played in promoting Mexican culture worldwide from the 17th century to the present and highlights the rebozo as a symbol of Mexican identity.
The origins of this item of clothing - which come in a variety of designs and colors - date to the colonial era, when Mexican artisans were influenced by high-quality embroidered shawls and mantillas from Spain.
It is unclear when the first rebozos were woven, although the first references to this long, flat garment appear in the literature of the 16th century.
They were made famous by Kahlo (1907-1954), several of whose self-portraits show her wearing that traditional shawl.
“Made in Mexico” includes major loans from the Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico City, the Museum of Textiles in Oaxaca, Mexico, the British Museum and rebozos from private collections that have never before been shown publicly, the museum says on its Web site.
It also features work by contemporary Mexican and British artists, photographers, fashion and textile designers - including Francisco Toledo, Graciela Iturbide, Carla Fernandez, Zandra Rhodes and Kaffe Fassett - that was inspired by the rebozo and Mexican textiles.
The exhibit will come to Mexico in the spring of 2015 as part of the events to commemorate the “Year of the UK in Mexico.”