Tag: Frida Kahlo

Behind the Design: La Rana y La Mono Baby Romper

Behind the Design Wednesdays: Every week Tea writes about our designers’ inspiration for our current collection of clothing. Explore all of our Behind the Design posts.

You may be wondering, why does Tea have a frog and a monkey on their baby romper?  Well these two creatures actually represent two famous married Mexican artists, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.

If you’ve been following our Studio T blog, you’ll know that a lot of our Modern Mexico children’s clothes collection was inspired by the works of Diego and Frida.  Our La Rana Y El Mono baby romper captures our playful tribute to them.

frog drawings and mosaics by Diego Rivera, monkeys from Frida Kahlo’s self portraits

Diego thought he looked like a frog and Frida would often paint monkeys throughout her work.  The artists started to use the Spanish pet names La Rana (frog) and El Mono (monkey) for each other. We think that’s pretty adorable.

How about you?  What are your pet names for your loved ones?

 

Dolores Olmedo

María de los Dolores Olmedo y Patiño Suarez was a well-known Mexican businesswoman. She studied law in the early years of the 20th century, and went on to own property and factories all over Mexico. Olmedo was also a philanthropist to the arts, and was good friends with both Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Diego painted several portraits of her, the most famous of which was painted in 1955 after Frida’s death:

We love her traditional embroidered top and the classic Frida-style flowers in her hair!

Her biggest life achievement was the creation of the Dolores Olmedo Museum in Mexico City, which holds her massive art collection. Our designers visited the museum and loved the xoloitzcuintle dogs and peacocks that run wild in the gardens! To date the museum holds 145 paintings by Diego Rivera, and 25 by Frida Kahlo, as well as 6,000 pre-Hispanic figurines.

Dolores Olmedo died at the age of 93 in 2002, but her legacy of art appreciation continues. In her words “Following the example of my mother, a teacher, Prof. María Patiño Suárez widow of Olmedo, I live as she taught me: ‘share all you have with those around you’.  I therefore will this house with all my collections of art, product of a lifetime’s endeavor, for the pleasure and enjoyment of the People of Mexico.” It’s worth a visit if you find yourself in Mexico City.

Xoloitzcuintle

Have you ever heard of Mexican hairless dogs? The xoloitzcuintle (pronounced shoh-loyts-kwint-lee) is native to Mexico, with roots tracing back over 3,000 years, and are believed to be the first domesticated dog of the Americas.

Their hairlessness has many theories, the most popular being that it was a survival tactic in the hot tropical regions of Mexico. The Aztecs in particular were very fond of these dogs, with the belief that they were necessary to guide their owners through the underworld upon death. Xolos exude an exceptional amount of body heat and were valued during cold months as additional heat sources at night. Perhaps due to this, they also gained a reputation as being healers, and are still kept around today as superstition for fighting away sickness. Xoloitzcuintles are also appreciated for their guard-dog abilities and unwillingness to back down in a fight. They bond strongly to their owners and are a notoriously intelligent breed.

Our designers saw quite a few xoloitzcuintles on their inspiration trip to Mexico. The dogs above live in the Dolores Olmedo Museum in Mexico city, in honor of the philanthropist’s love of the breed.

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera are among the most well-known fans of the xoloitzcuintle dog. Frida with two of her pets (above left), and in her self portrait with her xoloitzcuintle (above right).

What do you think of xoloitzuintles? Do you find them elegant and beautiful? Or strange and ugly? They unfortunately didn’t make the cut for any of our Tea graphics this year, but we’re still fascinated by them!

Frida and Diego

In our Fall Mexico-inspired collection there are many pieces inspired by the artwork of both Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera.

Frida approached Diego initially in search of an artistic mentor. They fell in love and were married in 1929. Their marriage was fraught with difficulties, but their art flourished. Our designers visited their famous “blue house” in Mexico City, which had separate living quarters and art studios connected by a lush courtyard garden.

Diego Rivera’s paintings commonly reflected the working class citizens of Mexico. A known communist, he sympathized with union workers and was commissioned to create numerous large-scale murals during his lifetime. Intricate stories often play out in his larger murals, depicting famous political and artist characters of the time.

Diego Rivera's "En el Arsenal" detail (left), and "The Flower Carrier (right)

Frida’s work consisted largely of self-portraits. Suffering from chronic and extreme back pain following a trolley car accident when she was young, her paintings fluctuate between states of calm beauty and a harsher dark aesthetic. Frida’s artwork is hailed as emblematic of the surrealist movement, and she is one of the most well-known women artists in history.

Frida Kahlo's "Self Portait on the Border Between Mexico and the United States" (top), "Self Portrait with Monkey and Cat" (right), "Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress" (left)

Both artists were significant influences on our Fall 2011 collection. Stay tuned for more stories about Frida and Diego and how their work and aesthetic styles inspired our design team!