The University of Arizona
What Would Frida Wear?


Viva Mexico / Mexican Eagle Coin PurseViva Mexico / Mexican Eagle Coin Purse
Basketry coin purse, 1920s
Gift of Mrs. A.M. Franklin
Point to Touch the image to see the other side of the purse.

The famous artist Frida Kahlo was well known for her tendencies to wear native Mexican clothing as an expression of her personal politics. As an ardent nationalist, Frida wore the traditional dress of many regions in Mexico. This website answers the question "What would Frida wear?" by offering a glimpse of some of the Mexican textiles of the Cordry Collection. More information on Frida is available on her biography page.

The Cordry Collection

Dough figurine, woman with roses
Dough Figure, 1963
Guanajuato, Mexico
Museum Purchase

The Donald and Dorothy Cordry Collection at the Museum is one portion of a larger collection of Mexican masks, costumes, jewelry and other items, that represents the passion of an American couple who lived for many years in Cuernavaca, Morelos. The couple had always hoped their collection would be used as a teaching collection, and upon Donald's death in 1980, Mrs. Cordry sold as well as donated portions to museums throughout the country.

The Cordry Collection at ASM consists of over 1300 items, not including numerous photographs and slides. In addition to the Mexican items, there are almost 350 molas and other ethnographic items from the Cuna people in Panama. Almost a quarter of the collection, 322 items, makes up the Mexican Indian costume collection. These items consist of bags, belts, cloths, headcloths, tortilla cloths, huipiles, and quechquemitls. Most of the costume items are women's, but some children's and men's clothing is represented as well.

The Museum holds Mexican costumes from other donors as well, some of which Frida would have no doubt wanted to wear, so we have given her the opportunity to do so.

More information on how these items were made is available on the Mexican textiles page.