Made in Mexico

Frida Kahlo can be credited for bringing a few looks to prominence – namely the monobrow, and the rebozo – or classic Mexican shawl.

Frida San Angel, 1941

Source: (c) Nickolas Muray

Frida San Angel, 1941


A new exhibition at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum looks to take the baton from Kahlo in celebrating the garment, partnering with Mexico City’s Museo Franz Mayer for its Made in Mexico show.

Ex Voto Alfredo  Vilchis, 2012

Source: © Courtesy Gallery Frederic Moisan-Paris

Ex VotoAlfredo Vilchis, 2012

The rebozos will be starring in the exhibition celebrating the role of textiles in promoting Mexican culture to the rest of the world, spanning from the 17th century to the present day.

According to the Fashion and Textile Museum, the garment has become a symbol for many revolutionaries, artists and writers to show their Mexican culture and identity.

Carnaval, Tlaxcala, México Graciela Iturbide, 1974

Source: Photograph (c) Graciela Iturbide

Carnaval, Tlaxcala, MéxicoGraciela Iturbide, 1974

Kahlo’s depictions of herself in a rebozo are said to have been created as a statement of solidarity with Mexican labourers.

The Fashion and Textile Museum says, ‘Still woven using traditional techniques, the rebozo remains an important emblem of contemporary Mexican life and it is celebrated for the indigenous craft skills involved in its production.’

It adds, ‘The rebozo has…become an integral part of daily life and represents the journey from birth to death, being used as both a baby carrier as well as a shroud.’

Lila Downs, Grammy award-winning musician, wearing a rebozo de pluma from Ahuiran, Michoacan Antonio Turok, Summer 2013

Source: Photograph © Antonio Turok

Lila Downs, Grammy award-winning musician, wearing a rebozo de pluma from Ahuiran, MichoacanAntonio Turok, Summer 2013

The exhibition will be split into sections exploring the history of Mexican textiles; figures associated with the rebozo including Kahlo and musician Lila Downs; how the rebozo is used and worn; weaving techniques; and the rebozo in contemporary art and fashion.

Senora de los milagros - Lady of Miracles Hand-tinted photograph Bill Blair, 2013

Source: © Bill Blair

Senora de los milagros – Lady of MiraclesHand-tinted photographBill Blair, 2013

Alongside historic rebozos, the exhibition will also feature a number of photographs by Graciela Iturbide and Lourdes Almeida, showing the garment’s use in contemporary Mexico.

Artist Mauricio Cervantes has created an installation for the exhibition that explores the use of the rebozo as a death shroud.

Woollen rebozo, 2014  Design by Wallace#Sewell

Source: Photo © Fashion and Textile Museum

Woollen rebozo, 2014 Design by Wallace#Sewell

Around 50 other new works for the show have been created in response to the rebozo and Mexican textiles by Mexican and UK artists, photographers, fashion and textile designers including Zandra Rhodes, Kaffe Fassett Francisco Toledo, Graciela Iturbide and  Carla Fernandez.

Carmen Rion, Spring/Summer 2014 Rebozo doble zacatecas y lola copia

Source: Photograph (c) Carmen Rion

Carmen Rion, Spring/Summer 2014Rebozo doble zacatecas y lola copia

Made in Mexico runs from 6 June – 30 August at the Fashion and Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey St, London SE1 3XF

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