One hundred and eight years ago, the world was gifted with the birth of Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón — most famously known as Frida Kahlo. The well-loved Mexican artist, a shining example of perseverance and creativity, known for her feminist stance, was the inspiration for this two part shoot, based on her most famous painting Las Dos Fridas (The Two Fridas). Created at a pivotal point in her life, the painting depicts an expressive double self-portrait that symbolises the artist’s contrasting, yet very separate entities. In the painting, the two distinct Fridas are linked together not only by their hands, but also by the connecting cord that travels around them. Frida’s bold fashion has been a key source of inspiration for modern day designers such as Dolce & Gabbana, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Riccardo Tisci, and style icons such as Beyoncé.
The image of Joanne Fleming’s vibrant Frida dress inspired Elizabeth Solaru of Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium to create this two part concept and story. She worked with Anna of Anna Fern Weddings for the planning and styling of this unique high fashion bridal shoot, which also celebrates the V&A’s 2018 fashion exhibition of Frida Kahlo’s personal belongings and clothing.
Part 1: Frida’s European Identity-Frida Inspired Bridal Look
The light and airy conservatory at The Horniman Museum and Gardens was the perfect setting for the shoot. The chosen palette was white, cream, pink, peach and hints of gold and grey. Joanne Fleming, one of the UK’s top wedding dress designers created a high necked Victorian style full sleeved over blouse, featuring handmade lace and pearl buttons. She paired this with a skirt and boned under-bodice in sumptuous translucent silk damask organza, which echoed the look of the white dress in the ‘Two Fridas’ painting. The bold statement jewellery in white and gold with leather tassels was by Stella & Dot, kindly provided by Emma Riddell-Independent Stylist, while The Exquisite Collection supplied the most extremely beautiful and feminine emerald green ring in a unique presentation box.
The hair and make up for this shoot was by the amazing duo of Kasia Fortuna and Sylwia Kunysz Bridal Make Up respectively, who expertly made up the model, Nicole Andrea Da Ros. They used a soft and natural palette of blush and rose pink on her face, with a nod to the strong eyebrows Frida was noted for. They also wove in a monochrome Rebozo style scarf into her hair to create the trademark hairstyle of two braids, which was then finished off with a halo of natural flowers, reminiscent of the sartorial icon’s self-fashioning.
The tablescape featured the most incredible floral design by Wild About. The outstanding overhanging tree canopy across the length of the table featured different hues of blush roses and ranunculi, white Phalaenopsis orchids, hydrangeas, roses, Icelandic poppies and lilacs. On the table were clever groupings of more flowers in a combination of geometrical and modern vases, with white ceramic cacti and crystal candlesticks, topped with handmade blush and grey ombre’ candlesticks.
The ghost chairs, white wave pattern crockery, clear and coloured crystal glasses and gold cutlery were from Couvert, and the specially commissioned elegant stationery was created by Plume Design. Each place setting also had edible jewelled cupcakes of love birds and hearts, a nod to the symbolisms that can be found in a number of Frida’s paintings.
In addition to the cupcakes, Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium also created a trio of cakes for the shoot, including the watercolour and gold leafed statement cake, featuring a gold sacred heart and roses, ranunculi, hydrangeas, blossoms and gold leaves made from sugar. There was also a single tier all gold over painted cake topped with blush pink sugar flowers and a three tier watercolour and gold cake decorated with a single statement sugar flower.
All this was captured wonderfully by Roberta Facchini, one of the most sought after luxury fine art photographers in the UK. We can all agree that she has succeeded in capturing the mix of old world romance and modern luxury in this rather special shoot.