Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Frida in the Bronx

A Bunch of Dames Head for Da Bronx
and see the Art, Garden and Life of
Frida Kahlo
Some years ago, the New York Botanical Garden got the idea to recreate the gardens of artists and writers in the Haupt Conservatory. For instance, we saw an exhibition devoted to the spectacular gardens of Monet at Giverny.

Today a group of us took Metro North to the Garden to the see the "Art, Garden and Life" of Frida Kahlo. For ladies such as ourselves, who like to "dress creatively," this trip presented an opportunity to commune with the spirit of Frida.
My dress is perfect for this occasion. I made and designed it using the traditional techniques of Mexican dressmakers. It is a simple rectangle. Most Mexican garments are based on a geometric shape. I learned this method last summer at a workshop I attended at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It was led by Carla Fernandez, an artist who works with indigenous peoples of Mexico using their traditional methods, but adding her own distinctly avant-garde twist. I painted the pockets with textile paint.
The hat is a Borsalino straw which
I trimmed with a big, paper flower, leaves
and yellow beads.
Left to right: Nonnie Balcer, Debra Rapoport,
Marsh Carlin, Sherry, Elke Kuhn, Leslie, Diana Gabriel and me.
 Mia D'Avanza, who curated the "Art" portion of the exhibit
which is in the Mertz Art Gallery,
gave us an informative tour of the show.
Photos were not allowed, but we could take
a photo of these sculptures depicitng 
"The Two Fridas," which are paper and wire constructions.
 This little girl did not want to budge. 
Note how her dress relates to the "Frida" on the left:
 Debra, Marsha, Elke, Nonnie and Leslie.
 Lina Plioplyte, the director of the documentary, Advanced Style, joined us.
She is the lady in black.
As you might expect, we attracted a lot of attention at the Garden.
 At the entrance to the recreation of the
Casa Azul, Frida's house in Mexico City.

 We had the perfect 80-degree day.
 Diana's pristine white looks so beautiful against the yellow.
The Garden recreated a pyramidal structure similar
to one in Frida's garden at the Casa Azul.
 Marigolds were in abundance.

 Debra and Sherry.
 Nonnie in the Garden gift shop.
 Elke could not resist this beautiful
fern. In fact, she bought two.
I hope you made it back to Brooklyn with these, Elke!
It was a fabulous time.

À Bientôt!


  1. So fun! You ladies knocked it out of the park!!! All your outfits are amazing but I really loved your home made dress and think it's such a nice coincidence you worked with Carla in Boston! The shape of the dress really looks Mexican but with your Carol signature! XO

  2. Oh what a visual feast! I so so wish I could visit this exhibition so it's lovely to see pictures of it here. You all look wonderful, I'm sure people were astounded to see so much colour. Your dress is fab, I'd love to learn how to make those dresses. I have one from Mexico and it's so lovely to wear. XX

  3. Feda,
    Thanks. That workshop was heaven for me. Carla is such a genius. But I think the red dress that you wore to my party has a similar look of simple purity of color and design. I loved those garments that posted on Instagram, btw.

  4. As usual, you all look radiant, gorgeous and festive. You light up the gardens with your brilliance. Love the hat that you created, and your dress is stunning!

  5. Carol, thank you for the dress inspiration!! I've been grumbling about the heat (102 today) but with an awesome dress to throw on, it won't be quite so intolerable. I love your modern interpretation of a simple shape and can't wait to experiment.

    I also loved looking at each and every one of the ladies who attended with you! Again, fabulous inspiration, and I can only imagine the laughter and intelligent commentary. The exhibit must have been a joy to see as well.

    Thank you thank you thank you. ;-)