A brief look at fashions on film.
1, The 1940s.
Noor Jahan in Anmol Ghadi (1946).
This kind of square neck blouse was popular in the late 40s and continued to be so in the early 50s. The sequinned sari of course has never fallen out of favour though it may no longer be a French chiffon. Though this particular flower/starburst design is often seen in the 40s/early 50s. And Noor Jahan loved her bling:)
2. The 1950s
Flower printed saris (nylons? chiffons? hard to tell). On Suraiya, the sari material is used to make a matching blouse. On Shyama, a square neck blouse with a kind of sculpted stand up collar.
3. Late 1960s
The colour matched scoop neck blouse, the handloom saree (here a dhakai saree), the print sari and occasionally trousers and shirt.Sunglasses optional.
Stills from Aranyer Din Ratri.
Most of the clothes are different but the hairstyles and the make up are strikingly similar to Europeans ones or American ones during the same decades. Presumably, the cinema and magazines inspired Indian women to adopt the occidental style. Then in the 1970s came Indian fashion to the West and saved many of us from having to wear clothes which were supposed to be sexy but were really ugly and uncomfortable!
Yes they often mirrored European trends. Sometimes the blouse patterns, bras, shoes – all of this would also follow trends elsewhere.
Asian clothes are fairly unstructured and flowing – I love some of the vintage Japanese clothes too. I actually do like vintage Western fashions but you are right the “upholstery”needed to give it form and shape would have made it very uncomfortable! God knows how the Victorians went around the world in that:)