Iconic Kahlo Picture (and BMW Logo) Makes Cover of Mexican Vogue

Oct 25, 2012
9:17 am

Last night we read a piece from El Nuevo Herald celebrating an iconic image of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo gracing a the cover of a special supplement for Mexican Vogue. According to the article, the Kahlo picture was taken in 1939 by Hungarian photographer Nickolas Muray. A statement by the Frida Kahlo Museum said, "For the first time, the Mexican artist will appear on the cover of an international fashion magazine." (This is not the first time, Kahlo's image has graced the cover of Vogue.)

The 95-page supplement will contain photos displaying famous designers who inspired Kahlo as well as historical documents, pictures, and love letters that the Kahlo museum gave exclusively to Vogue.

In the end, celebrating Kahlo's life and legacy is always a good thing. However, we paused for a minute when we saw a BMW logo under Kahlo's image. We instantly thought of the time when Mercedes Benz had to apologize for using the image of Che Guevara in a trade show. Kahlo was a communist for most of her life, and the commercial logo just made the cover feel a bit wrong.

So we asked our Facebook community last night, and we got TONS OF COMMENTS. How do you feel about the cover and the BMW logo? Here are some examples of what was some of our fans said 

Nothing wrong, she was awesome!

the BMW sign!!! cars are for men and men won't read this magazine, everyone knows that.

Frida is NO fashion figure… she was a one of a kind artist

Frida will become the new hipster image in 3, 2, 1…

Frida no es la imagen del artista mexicano moderno. FRIDA NO MORE

Frida and Diego were leftists. Vogue is on the opposite side of the spectrum..

ya'll missing the point…Frida was a revolutionary artist, not a fashion icon. vogue is a superficial magazine aimed at further objectifying women. that's what's wrong with using her as a cover model

She was a walking representation of her culture and proud of it! She did mingled with people from all walks of life, including the NYC upper class. I think it is awesome that Vogue honored her in their cover. She was a fashion and cultural icon for sure! Can't wait to pick up a copy of the magazine!

well at least its Frida and not a non latina actress dressed up to represent Frida or her likeness

I doubt frida would approve of being sold and commerialized…."Now that the interest in Kahlo has spread to the fashion and movie world, images of her face and paintings have been culturally appropriated to appear on postcards, calendars, T- shirts, jewelry, and films. Kahlo's life and art have become another commodity that can be sold in our consumer-oriented society.

As Helland has noted, "Her pain becomes perversion; her art becomes soap opera."(7) Helland further observes that the psychological reductionism that equates Kahlo's imagery "with a desire to 'paint away' her accident, suffering, and pain does little justice to her work. It reduces an important group of paintings done by a deeply intellectual and socially committed artist to simply a visual cry of personal angst."(8)"

I'm biased – I think she was beautiful. On the other hand, she was an devout Marxist (presumably of the Troskian variety – I say only half in jest). If alive I would think that she still be a Marxist and militant feminist and therefore not impressed with covers unless they offered her an opportunity to speak her unadulterated truth. Gotta love her. I'm intrigued as to the caption, "las apariencias enganyan," (appearances are deceiving). I'd like to read it before I judge Vogue-MX. Thanks for sharing – any day with Frida is a better day.

I have mixed feelings about this cover…. I think it’s an honor that they have Frida on the cover, but not with a BMW logo… I also think that she was a unique artist and she expressed it by the way she dressed. I think she was beautiful and sexy in her own way, she had her own style, no one will ever get to that level.

Frida would approve because she chose to do this in the 1930s, like I said Frida loved her style, she didn't dress up and wear jewelry for no reason. She loved her style, she was smart, talented, was love sick over Diego, painted herself everyday. She was obsessed with herself to say the least. Posing for vogue was not a major deal for her.

You can still be a revolutionary woman, a Marxist a feminist and still put on a ill black dress and heels or walk naked. Period.

Well she was featured on the cover of Vogue in France when she was alive, so I don't think she would mind being on the cover of Vogue in her home country. To me it is interesting because there really hasn't been anyone like her…. before or after. She was really unique and I admire her in the sense that she appreciated and respected her indigenous heritage and wasn't afraid to be a "minority." She was an out of this world artist and has created such a legacy that has ingrained her into the conscience of Mexico and the world. She is an icon that is inexplicably Mexican. In that sense I think there is no problem with featuring her post-humously on the cover… it seems to be the same photo that she used for the french vogue back in the day… Las apariencias engañan might be fitting but I think she is an example of a burgeoning conscience of a people that are to come. 🙂

Anything is game with commercialism. Greedy tools will whore-out anything or body for profit. Die capitalism.

while the argument that Vogue objectifies women is not very original, it doesn't make it any less valid, because it is very real. you say it objectifies fashion, not women, yet who are the consumers of fashion magazines? usually women, and what ideas and what images are being sold to us? open to any page of any "fashion" magazine you will find an unrealistic woman that fits an unrealistic ideal, in some pose emanating weakness and sexual appeal that totally disregards the woman's individual personality, intellect, and character. Fashion can be empowering, it feels awesome to choose to wear something that makes us look and feel good, but that is not what these fashion magazines are selling. they are selling the idea that if you do not wear this, look like this, you are not a real woman, you are not worthy, and you may think that no woman or girl ever looks at a magazine and thinks "i don't look like this, i am worthless" literally, but it does affect at a subconscious level. Frida would have never agreed to being part of this message. Frida was unique, she dressed differently than her peers, she acted differently. she was an intellect, an empowered woman.

Though she had revolutionary ideals that doesn't mean that she was out of touch with reality and mundanity. She was very style conscious and probably picked up a couple Vogue magazines in her day. If she were alive she may take a peek at People and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills too. Let's not over-idealize our heroes to the point that they aren't multifaceted human beings.

You laugh when you tell us what to think and ask for comments and we do. The appropriators here aren't Vogue Mexico; it's everyone here who presumes to speak for her. She posed for this. Vogue owns the photo. Vogue Mexico is sponsored by BMW. Big deal!