Kate Harmond's Hat
What is your item? My hat, which I designed and put together myself. It is a tribute to my favourite artist Frida Kahlo. I'm a total fan. I've been to see her exhibitions in Mexico, London and Budapest.
She was such an interesting person who led an unconventional life. She was super bright and was going to go to medical school when she had this horrendous accident on a tram in Mexico, where a pole perforated her pelvis and spine. She was only 16 and it meant she had to lie flat on her back for years. In order to keep her occupied her mother gave her some paints and a mirror. And that's how she started painting.
She’s quoted as saying the second near fatal accident she had was meeting Diego Rivera. He was the superstar painter of his day. Like the Andy Warhol of Mexico. He did big murals, political paintings and was incredibly populist and popular. Once they’d met she just kind of stalked him until they got married.
Why is this item important to you? When I was in Mexico for the first time, I felt a very personal connection to Frida the person. I loved her work, but I was as interested in her life because it was so chaotic. And at that time my life felt very crazy too. So I guess I felt this affinity to her and wanted to be like her. Unfortunately, I don’t have any of her artistic talent but I look like her a little so I thought, maybe I can make a tribute that I can wear.
When you hold this item what do you feel? I love wearing it. It's like 'my hat'. It feels very personal. And it travels with me everywhere. I bought the flowers I’ve used on it in Cuba and in Lanzarote, both places I love. When I’m wearing it people often ask, “Where did you get your hat?” which is a great conversation starter. I would feel sad if I lost it.
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