The Mantilla Post

In the pics: The late 19th/early 20 century practice of wearing a mantilla with the sari. Often made of lace. Probably a result of the popularity of the mantilla in nineteenth century Europe and more or less confined to Bengal.

Though we think of Gayatri Devi – and perhaps Indira Devi – as epitomising Indian elegance, the original style queen is without doubt Suniti Devi  The mantilla was popularised by her (pic 1 via Getty), it was part of a simplification of the brahmika style introduced by Jnanadanandini Devi

Judging by pic 3, the style was around even in 1911 though you can see it as early as 1883 on Mrinalini Devi (Tagore’s wife).

Though not akin to lace mantillas, the practice of wearing an extra piece of cloth draped over the sari on the upper part of the body is common in weddings in some parts of India (e.g. the Marathi shela, also in this Telugu wedding and in Bengal) – pic 3 is fairly similar though I believe it is intended as an adjunct to the sari that falls right down to the lower leg.

pic 2: via Geraldine Forbes. pic 4: Alkazi collection

A modern version here.

About Anu M

A potted history of Indian clothing and fashion.
This entry was posted in 1880s, 1910s, 19th century, 20th century, Accessories, Bengal, Colonial, Dress Reform, Early 19th century, fashion, Indian Aesthetics, Indian Costume, Indian Women, Photography, Royalty, Sari, sari history, Studio Portraits, Vintage, vintage costume, vintage photography, vintage sari, vintage style and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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