Frida Kahlo: A Style Inspiration

Frida Kahlo is a true legend that clearly needs no introduction. Despite a lifetime of obstacles and pain, she was an ingenious and inimitable painter as well as a resilient and passionate lover of life. She had devoted all of her kaleidoscopic ways to her idiosyncratic art, countless tempestuous affairs, and more importantly, love. But today we are going to focus on her iconic dress sense which continues to dazzle and inspire even to this day.

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Maxi Dress & Skirt with a Twist

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Frida contracted polio at the age of 6, which stunted the growth of her right leg, and experienced a dreadful trolley accident as a teenager, which left her bedridden for almost a year. Because of this series of unfortunate events, she opted for maxi dresses and skirts partially intended to disguise her imperfections. In addition, the vibrant colors of nature in her garden not only inspired her paintings, but also the eclectic patterns in her unique choices of clothing.

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Valentino Resort Collection 2015

Anything Frill

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Natives of the South of Mexico, Frida and the Tehuana dress had an inseparable link. She was almost always seen in a Tehuana dress with the beautiful white frill, implying her tremendous pride in her vivid Mexican heritage and deep-rooted attachment to her country.  It also contributed to the colorful composition of her abundant self-portraits which made her one of the most significant surrealist painters of all time. Moreover, we have to admit that a beautiful flowing dress with a frilly hemline has an incredibly feminine flair and flirtatious touch.

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Valentino Resort Collection 2015

Rebozo / Giant Scarf 

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A Rebozo is a traditional Mexican scarf. Frida wore it constantly, suggesting her immense vulnerability and self-consciousness. Nonetheless, they are usually called shawls in other parts of the world and you can see them in every Parisian corner. It is the perfect transitional piece and a must-have in your fall and winter collection. Wear a big bright-hued scarf with your minimalist outfit to add some extra color and warmth.

Statement Jewelry

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I used to purchase a lot of earrings whenever I went to a boutique because they are my favorite type of jewelry. I bought feather earrings, indigenous culture inspired earrings, rhinestone earrings…pretty much any kind you could think of. But now I just wear my tiny Chanel clovers because I have grown too lazy to take them off before showers (I know, I know…It’s such a bad habit). Regardless, a distinctive piece of statement jewelry can easily brighten up your entire outfit. A plain black sweater may be a bit boring? Add a turquoise necklace. Having a bad hair day? Wear a pair of statement earrings to draw more attention to your beautiful features.

Floral Headpiece 

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The signature look of Frida was an ensemble of a slightly updated Tehuana dress and a tightly braided bun with a floral headpiece. The flowers brought out her intense, brooding eyes and their vivacity was pertinent to Frida’s inherent pain and dark beauty. Although it seems unrealistic to wear a floral headband in daily life, it is a splendid addition to your festival outfits or wedding gowns.

Strong Brows

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I have naturally very thin eyebrows which have been kinda of bothering me since I entered adolescence. For those who are blessed with thick brows, I have only one advice: “NEVER overly pluck them.” They are so beautiful and add great definition to your face. I am not gonna say, “Oh look at Cara Delevingne or any other “It girl” with thick brows.” But keep in mind, looking more “au naturel” is always better for any age.

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“Velvet Goldmine”

One the most controversial bands in music history, The Velvet Underground, took its name from a nonfiction paperback, which narrates the kinky sexual practices in American suburbia. David Lynch’s film Blue Velvet is a surrealist tale that explores sensual lunacy and peculiar venereal behavior. But ironically, in fashion history, velvet was originated for royals in both Eastern and Western cultures. It was the embodiment of nobility and luxury.

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Isabelle Rossellini in Blue Velvet

Nowadays, velvet has become much more accessible and affordable, yet it adds an opulent feel to the austere winter palette and gives your wardrobe an instant dose of royal cool. It is versatile and can be worn for formal affairs as well as casual outings.

It is ultra soft yet dense. The feel of the fabric is one of most important parts of decision-making when it comes to shopping for apparel. Because if it doesn’t feel good on my hand, how is it going to feel good on me?! Velvet can be made from several different kinds of fabrics. Traditionally, it is made from sumptuous silk, but many velvet items we see now on the market can be made from cotton, linen, mohair, and wool.

It also doesn’t matter if you’re petite or curvaceous. With the right color and fit, velvet can look good on anyone.

Velvet is fun and can look fantastic in many colors. You can also pair it with flats, stiletto heels, boots, or even sneakers.

In addition to velvet dresses, jackets, and coats, velvet pants, skirts, and jumpsuits add an extra haute edge and vintage allure to your ensemble.

Velvet shoes are perfect for modern daywear as well as evening looks in the form of glossy flats, flirty heels, and statement-making boots.

The downside of velvet is that it can be a bit difficult to store and maintain but modern dry-cleaning methods have made it a lot more unchallenging to clean. Sometimes, crushed velvet and polyester-blend velvet are okay to machine wash but it is not a guarantee, so read the cleaning instructions carefully. It is also said that a tough stain can be cleaned naturally with a very diluted mixture of baking soda and lemon juice. But NEVER iron it because the heat will ruin the clothing. Nonetheless, I believe it is worth the little extra care and time for maintenance. After all, to preserve beauty is one of the very few meaningful things we can do in life.

Best Fictional Films for Style Inspiration – Kinks & Winks

Today I will continue to introduce some very stylish films. Some of them will be slightly kinkier than the ones in my Personal Favorites (okay, maybe not The Dreamers) but equally amazing.

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And God Created Woman (1956)

The 60s was not complete without Brigitte Bardot. She was so uninhibited, free, innocent yet insouciantly provocative all at the same time. She shook up the post-war conformist France with body-conscious garments — button-front shirtdresses, boatneck wiggle dresses and simple white polo necks paired with hip-hugging pencil skirts, exemplifying the sexy looks that left just enough to the imagination.

 

Belle de Jour (1967)

Yves Saint Laurent’s designs were the epitome of ‘classic modernity’. He successfully captured the haute bourgeois chic by designing some amazing pieces — tailored sheaths, a safari dress, a vinyl trench, and sumptuous rounded coats for the stunning Catherine Deneuve. Although Deneuve was never my favorite French actress, she was the embodiment of quintessential femininity and exquisite sophistication. Instead of showing the free spirit and romance of the archetypal French woman, she always played stern and controlled roles with an aura of mystery. Nonetheless, the film is a must-see for fashion addicts.

 

9 and 1/2 Weeks (1986)

This film is the 80s version of Fifty Shades of Grey but 10 times better. Basinger was the ultimate embodiment of 80s’ cosmopolitan fashion and minimalist simplicity. The tousled waves, red-stained lips, darkly lined and smudged eyes — or what I like to call, the morning-after look — is all the rage now. And she rocked the modern working girl ensembles as well as the slouch combo of a banker’s button-down with EG Smith Boot socks — alongside a devilishly attractive Mickey Rourke.

 

In the Mood for Love (2000)

Wong Kar-wai has made an abundance of highly stylized films (2046, My Blueberry Nights, etc.) and is one of the very few reasons why I still hold hope for Chinese filmmakers (artistically speaking, not commercially for obvious reasons). Regarded as a milestone in Chinese film history, this movie was a major stylistic influence on the past decade of cinema. In this melancholy tale of love and loneliness, Maggie Cheung impeccably showcased the grace and sensuality of qipao (also known as cheongsam) with her slender figure and fragile beauty, creating a nostalgic ambiance and an aesthetically pleasing viewing experience. The opalescent silks and floral prints subtly juxtapose the quiet passion embedded between the characters.

 

Mulholland Dr. (2001)

David Lynch is a bonafide genius because this was the film that changed the course of film history and the way I watch movies. Hell, the first thing I did after getting my Nissan was going to Mulholland Dr. I practically risked my life by driving on the meandering road and that was how much I loved this movie. The cinematography, the score, the underlying message, the evocative acting, and of course the costumes complemented one another immaculately, making it one of the cinematic masterpieces of the 21st century. Dark locks, crimson lips, white button-down, halter dresses, and Laura Harring’s cheekbones represented the true essence of Hollywood glamour.

 

A Single Man (2009)

Two words to sum up the film – Tom Ford. He translated his immaculate taste beautifully to cinema with fastidious attention to detail and filled the poignant moments with an exquisite style and elegance. We see throughout the film the white oxford shirts – the very image of quality and refinement, classic thick-framed glasses – hallmark of American hipsters, corduroy jackets – a nice boho touch of the 60s, and of course, Italian style custom-tailored suits. In short, the film is an aesthetic perfection.

 

Some of the films have been proven a bit too much for some. So brace yourselves. 😉

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