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  1. ITV Report

Exhibition looks to uncover the 'very unconventional persona' of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo was a a brand in her own right, an artist whose fame through her many self portraits soared decades after her death, turning her into an icon.

Now, Kahlo's clothes, jewellery, makeup and a defiantly red-leather-booted prosthetic leg, which were sealed in her house for more than 50 years, are to be shown at the V&A in London, the first time they will have been seen outside Mexico.

Claire Wilcox, senior curator of fashion at the V&A, said the exhibition reveals unknown more details about the famed Mexican artist.

"Frida was so photogenic and because so many photographers were mesmerised by her we have this wonderful record of how she looked and how she dressed.

"What we didn't know before 2004, was that the amazing garments we see her wearing in these photographs and in her self-portraits still existed."

Frida Kahlo painted many self portraits.

More than 200 items from the Blue House, the home of Kahlo and her muralist husband, Diego Rivera, on the outskirts of Mexico City, are coming to London.

After Kahlo died in 1954, aged 47, her husband Diego Rivera locked up her belongings in a room and said it should not be opened until after his death.

In the event, it was not opened until 2004, revealing a fascinating treasure trove of clothes, makeup, jewellery, medicines and other intimate possessions.

Kahlo had her leg amputated. Credit: PA

In 1953, Kahlo had her leg amputated and the prosthetic leg she had to have will also be leaving Mexico. It was an object of defiance, said Circe Henestrosa.

Ms Henestrosa's great-aunt used to bring dresses to Kahlo.

"She did suffer a lot but she also enjoyed life and was very unconventional persona.

"She was someone who drank tequila and danced and had many lovers - she didn't allow her physical disabilities define her but she defined herself in her own terms."

  • Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up is at the V&A, From June 16 to November 4.