How Salma Hayek transformed into Frida Kahlo -- The actress had a bit of help pinning down the chameleonlike artist's unique style
Salma Hayek, Frida
Credit: Frida: Peter Sorel

She may be best known for her unibrow, but Mexican painter Frida Kahlo had a vibrant sense of style when it came to clothes. ”She was always redefining her identity,” says Salma Hayek, who wears more than 50 costumes in ”Frida,” now in theaters. ”She evolved.” The actress worked with costume designer Julie Weiss (”American Beauty”) to develop Frida’s look (basing a linen dress on Kahlo’s 1931 portrait with husband Diego Rivera, for instance).

Traditional Oaxacan embroidered tops and colorful beaded jewelry were purchased from Mexico City street merchants. ”We would be traveling along and see a woman selling the most beautiful pieces,” Weiss recalls. Though Weiss admits it was impossible to compete with Kahlo’s inimitable style, she’s proud of the film’s wardrobe. We looked for ”pieces that had passion, curiosity, and respect,” she says, ”the same way Frida would have chosen her clothing.”

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