Strange Weather in Mumbai

Deeka the Dog encapsulates the mood of 2021

Nearly a year has elapsed since I blogged here. Even for someone like me, used to a quiet life, pandemic anxiety and fatigue set in by mid 2021. If our immediate family made it through the year covid-less, this was not always the case for extended family. And so fashion and clothes weren’t much on my brain for much of last year. And of course there was also the lack of visual stimuli that everyday life provides – a girl in a new dress, passengers on a train, clothes on a rack – so vital in kick starting thoughts about clothes gone by. For most of the latter part of 2021, I felt unable to cohere my thoughts and put it down and something of it still lingers.

During the pandemic I also found myself firmly in middle age and found my relationship with clothes fundamentally altered. The aesthetic I have always been drawn to – traditional and decorative but a little off kilter and bohemian -didn’t seem to serve me any more. It is one of those periods in my life where I feel out of sync with my clothes. Oddly it felt like a question I needed to settle before writing about vintage fashion and clothes:). But that feeling has now passed.

Like most folk, I ended up consuming a great amount of content I had hitherto not paid much attention to. Since most of my posts rely on text and image, youtube was something I used sparingly and for specific purposes. And then last year idly flipping through short videos on India, I found a fair few video clips that were the source of images that I had used in my blog. Take for example, Indira Devi, whose stills are widely available on the Internet. Here she is in the video below at 1.07 and then 2.29.

Or a still of 1920s style that I had once used (and that felt like a great discovery back then). The video version is below, at 3.00 you can see all the ladies featured in the still.

And I must admit to letting out a little gasp when Homai Vyarawalla appeared at the end of the video below at 5:20, walking with equipment through a parade. It is such a cool few seconds, one of our first women photojournalists looking pretty unflappable on the job.

These videos give a very different sense of vintage fashions and style. On the one hand an image yields up minute details provided it is of good quality. But with videos the frozen glamour of stills is replaced with a sense of “real life” – the way clothes fall, move etc very much in evidence. I certainly found these videos very useful and might profile a few at some point this year.

While excavating fashion details from these videos still remains an art, it did make me wonder if the static blog format may no longer be the best way to interpret vintage styles. This feeling was only reinfornced by a fair few vintage/historical fashion bloggers I watch now and then on youtube, among them Karolina Zebrowska (whose droll observations I very much enjoy) and Bernadette Banner as well as non vintage channels like Audrey Coyne’s. For awhile I toyed with the idea of a video essay but the time committment and tech skills required made me put it on the back burner.

Too often in the past few years, a resolve to blog has more often than not fallen by the wayside. So let me not make any resolutions and simply hope to blog more. In the meantime, happy new year to anyone still reading!

About Anu M

A potted history of Indian clothing and fashion.
This entry was posted in Indian Women, Personal, Vintage and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Strange Weather in Mumbai

  1. Lovely to have you back, and looking forward to new posts with pictures, not videos, one is saturated with videos these days!
    Happy new year to you and family, with good health and many joyous moments.

    • Anu M says:

      Thank you and good to hear from you!!

      I agree re videos but now and then I wonder if some points might be illustrated better with a video:)

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