DIY Halloween Costume Series: Iconic Women in History, Week 4

DIY Halloween Costume Series: Iconic Women in History, Week 4

Each week in October, the design team celebrated their favorite iconic women in history with a DIY Halloween costume project! PLUS – we’ve recreated some of their most memorable photographs, and the results are incredible!


Week 4: Becoming Frida Kahlo

'I am my own muse. I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better.' - Frida Kahlo

Laura chose Kahlo as her Halloween muse because of her remarkable spirit. “She was able to overcome every obstacle in her way and use those challenges as creative fuel. Frida lived her life through painting. Without actually seeking recognition, she became one of the greatest artists of the 20th Century.”

“As you know, Frida is Mexican, and my family and I are Colombian. Both cultures have some similar traditional clothing so it wasn’t hard finding something in my mother’s closet that resembled Frida’s style. I borrowed some jewelry from Kate and Niki (NPL designers). They’re both fashionistas and love jewelry with a burning passion, so they had plenty of options for me to choose from. I picked something big. Frida always had big and flashy jewelry. The trickiest part was the braid and flower crown but I made it work. It’s just a hairband and a bunch of flowers sewn together!”

How to make your own Frida Kahlo costume

If you’re heading out on the town as Frida Kahlo this year, you should know: she was SO much more than a painter; she was an icon:

> Despite being hospitalized and bedridden, she still made it to her first groundbreaking art exhibition – on a hospital stretcher.

> The house she was born in, “La Casa Azul,” is the most visited museum in Mexico City.

In 2006, one of her self-portraits sold for $5.6 million, the highest sum ever for a Latin American painter.



Every photo of Frida is so colorful, so we knew our copycat photo shoot was going to be ridiculous fun. Fun fact – the photo on the right is from Frida’s feature on the cover of Vogue France!

Original photos of Frida Kahlo

To recreate the first image, we took our model Laura outside and snagged some great shots against Nations Photo Lab’s blue building. To create the green background behind Frida in her Vogue cover photo, we transformed the NPL conference room into a full-fledged studio. We borrowed a green screen and a cushion to make sure our details were just right.

'At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.' - Frida Kahlo


To get our Frida lookalike ready for her closeup, we took to Photoshop to make some small changes to our final image. First, we darkened the background and overlaid some texture on the blue wall behind her. Then, we added some highlights and shadows from the background to match the original photo. Finally, we added some flowers to the top of the image and accentuated her makeup.

Before and after Photoshop comparison of Frida Kahlo photos

The next image required a little more hands-on editing: First, we filled in her skirt and added flowers to both the skirt and to the background. Next, we changed her shirt color from white to yellow.

Before and after photos of Photoshop edits to Frida Kahlo replica photos

After that, we lightened up the color of the flowers in her hair, added some noise and grain, and created some highlights in the background. We finished the job by under-laying some of the original photo (around 20%). 

Photoshop screenshot of edits to Frida Kahlo photograph

Our completed photos:

Final recreated photos of Frida Kahlo

The final photo comparisons:

Original photo of Frida Kahlo next to recreated photo
Original photo of Frida Kahlo next to recreated photo

Feeling inspired to represent woman-kind this Halloween? Check out each one of our DIY Halloween Costume posts on Pepper Road to learn exactly how to nail it!

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