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Pompoms and beyond – By Krysty Hazell



Pompoms and beyond



{mosimage}The self portraits of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) have captured the popular imagination. Although her interior life explodes beyond the canvas and captures the inner Frida, it is her physical features and elaborate costumes that many have found more fascinating, and it seems that the catwalk has taken notice too. Kahlo’s singular portrait styles cut straight to the heart of deeply felt passions and sorrows, as we see her need for real and devoted love and passion from her husband Diego Rivera (a woman after our own heart). With her deep connection with nature and her traditional Mexican upbringing, it isn’t difficult to see why designers have embraced her creativity and replicated her style.


It is clear from Kahlo’s collection that she had a felt connection to native Mexican culture which, in her portraits, gives her an opportunity to project powerful emotions onto the exotic and unusual details of regional dress. For example, her use of the Tehuantepec marriage costume in the portraits enabled her to convey her feelings of being wedded to husband and nature. The delicate hand-worked fabric and earthy ornaments enabled her to express different sides of her personalities, which make her even more fascinating. Designers from all over have also noticed Kahlo’s addictive romantic style and have brought us an array of earthy, rustique colours, hand woven materials and above all…pompoms.


{mosimage}Pompoms have been around ever since I was a wee lass and have always attracted mixed feelings. The Mexican inspired pompommery have appeared on woollen scarves, mittens, handbags and even shoes this season and have added a frivolous vibe to winter adornment. Designers D&G, Cacheral, Fendi, Alexander McQueen and Kenzo have all created pompom delights in the shape of shoes, scarves and handbags.  Even the high street stores are stocking up with H&M, New Look and bargain favourite Cherokee all providing great balls of fun and most of all, affordable versions!


I have never been a pompom girl and always feel like these fluffy balls hanging from my clothing makes me look like an overgrown six year old. Or even worse, a cheerleader (Go Valley High!!!).  But seeing as it is autumn’s must have and is inspired by the wonderful Kahlo (Madonna’s favourite artist don’t you know?), I thought I would try the pompom out, well how hard can it be??



The pompom Kahlo inspired look is supposed to be all about romance, robust and ethnic dandy however I am finding it hard to translate this into my bobble hat. I put it on and automatically feel like a wally – ‘where’s wally?’ to be exact. I walk about 100 yards before whipping it off. I tried ok?



{mosimage}Am still recovering from my bobble hat disaster, however manage to find the courage to do a bit of research. I discover that there are many lovely pompomed cardigans from Cacharel and decorated necklines at Paul Smith. Feeling inspired, I trade my bobble hat in for a bobbled cardie. It is in the colour of the season-black so I look like a fashionista, but even more fabulous. Maybe this pompom malarkey isn’t so bad after all…



{mosimage}Ok, maybe it is so bad. Just when I thought I was emerging into a fully fledged Mexican goddess, person known as ‘Boyfriend’ tactlessly informs me that I appeared to have trodden on a small furry creature whilst eyeing up the fur ball on the end of my shoe (which took me ages trying to glue it onto the end of my boot). There was me thinking I looked fabulously Minnie Mouse, but in fact I looked like I’d stepped on a mouse. A monobrow style growl is required and has taken me back to square one…Men and their ever so gracious opinions ay?



{mosimage}I refuse to go anywhere near a poncho given that the only people who still wear them are no older than 7 years old. However, I opt for the pompom scarf as I think they look pretty cute but not mutton-dressed-as-9-year-ols cute. There are many great choices to choose from, I decide on the beige wool scarf from H&M, which has enormous pompoms on but looks grown up and ever so stylish. I strut my stuff and actually feel like I am pulling this look off. Results at last.



{mosimage}The last day of wearing pompoms has arrived and to celebrate I go shopping wearing…pompoms! I have realised that it is in fact a fabulous look if you wear it correctly. Be on the ball this autumn/winter and join fashions new trend with a fluffy pompom or two.


DO’S and DON’TS when wearing pompoms:





·        Don’t wear pompoms in more than one area. Indulge too much and you will look like fashion road kill-literally

·        Don’t forget that pompoms aren’t only for clothes- if you recoil in horror at the thought of wearing them, stick them on your bag!

·        Don’t on any account wear them either hanging off your head or as earrings-so not a good look! Someone call the fashion police!


Frida Kahlo exhibition is at the Tate Modern until October.

For more information visit the website on www.tatemodern.co.uk


Kyrsty Hazell

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