The Forest Post

Pic 1: Nandalal Bose, Evening, 1941.
Pic 2: Girl in  a Forest, Allah Bux, 1963.  [X]

Pic 1: Girl from Chotanagpur (1956)
Pic 2: One of a series taken of a Santhal festival in Santiniketan. Via Shibaditya Ray.

The original and best mori girls:).

Chotanagpur has dry, deciduous forests (though a lot of forest cover has now been lost) and is home to, amongst others, the Santhals, Oraons, Ho, Mundas and Kharias.

You can see the costume of pic 1 (as well as those worn by the accompanying dancers with this girl) here.  These look a little similar to Kotpad textiles. While the local handlooms as well as the silver jewellery remain, it is also common to see Southern Indian handlooms and modern costume jewellery as in pic 2.wp5

Looking around for contemporary Indian fashion with a forest theme I found very little. A little surprising given our long history with forests from the epics to musical traditions to “tree courtship” and dances on film.  The closest I suppose is all those labels and shoots that feature tribal textiles or motifs but “ethnic chic” in India is usually a mix of village, nomadic and tribal influences rather than specifically evoking forests.

Bar Anavila’s range based on Santhal culture (pic 1, stunning) and The Secret Life of the Forest (pic 2, X).

And there are clothes that evoke organic forms rather than drawing on myths or forest cultures. E.g. Padmaja Krishnan (pic 3).

Or labels like Injiri (pic 4) or Pero (pic 5).  Though they use Indian textiles their layering and cool palette is a very Japanese sensibility imo.


Forest Essentials. Very few ingredients are Indian forest produce (though I think grown locally) and their advertisement is very little forest and a lot of Raja Ravi Varma I think:) But posting for their lovely house models!

About Anu M

A potted history of Indian clothing and fashion.
This entry was posted in 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 21st century, Accessories, Art, Indian fashion, Indian Women, Tribal, vintage art, vintage sari, vintage style and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Forest Post

  1. yogamardi says:

    Another gorgeous post Anu. Being a forest dweller myself, makes it all the more special 🙂 So love the hand loom, indigo piece from Anavila Misra. Divine…

    • Anu M says:

      Its wonderful that you live in a forest Mardi.

      This was inspired by my visit to Kaziranga in Assam. And days when I miss the Australian wilderness. And Anavila is really beautiful, pick of the lot I think. Many thanks for the appreciation!

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