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Unveiling Frida Kahlo’s Closet

When the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo died in 1954, her husband muralist Diego Rivera locked her clothes and jewelry- all personal possessions- into a bathroom. Diego instructed that the room to be unlocked fifteen years after his own death. Forgotten, they stayed there for fifty years.

No one knew what was behind that locked door. Staring back from a life more notorious than most, were 300 items of Frida’s. Her jewelry, clothing, hair accessories, a  prosthetic leg, leather corsets, painted plaster casts and body molds. 

All the physical and emotional pain, joy and vitality is told through stories carried in Frida’s clothing and accessories. This treasure trove is organized into an exhibition titled Appearances Can Be Deceiving: The Dresses of Frida Kahlo,featuring eleven of Kahlo’s ensembles rotating every three months, showing forty outfits over the course of a year.

Conservators and curators said while excavating the hidden room, it was as if Frida was alongside them in the room. Her colorful clothing emitted a sense of happiness, while her hospital items, the casts and even medicine, were powerful to witness and held onto her sadness. 

Vogue Mexico is producing a room for the exhibition that will feature commissioned work from contemporary designers who have been influenced by Kahlo. A rep for the magazine declined to reveal the specific designers working on the project, but said that “they are international designers and one Mexican designer — all of them are very recognized in the fashion industry.”

The fashion curator Circe Henestrosa dug through the time capsule and organized the exhibition. Henestrosa says,"Garments are very powerful tools for social and cultural interpretation. These objects and garments tell you so much about the wearer and yes, the items do have a smell….how to describe the smell….it’s her. It’s a unique, beautiful smell, of her skin." 

Focusing on the issues of “disability” and “ethnicity,” the exhibition will be displayed in Frida Kahlo’s former home in Coyoacan, a suburb of Mexico City, the Frida Kahlo Museum (Casa Azul) through November 2013

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On the morning of September 4, 1957, fifteen-year-old Dorothy Counts set out on a harrowing path toward Harding High, where-as the first African American to attend the all-white school – she was greeted by a jeering swarm of boys who spat, threw trash, and yelled epithets at her as she entered the building.

Charlotte Observer photographer Don Sturkey captured the ugly incident on film, and in the days that followed, the searing image appeared not just in the local paper but in newspapers around the world.

People everywhere were transfixed by the girl in the photograph who stood tall, her five-foot-ten-inch frame towering nobly above the mob that trailed her. There, in black and white, was evidence of the brutality of racism, a sinister force that had led children to torment another child while adults stood by. While the images display a lot of evils: prejudice, ignorance, racism, sexism, inequality, it also captures true strength, determination, courage and inspiration.

Here she is, age 70, still absolutely elegant and poised.

she deserves to be re-blogged.