Indians in Sweden

The images below are from IMSPIX.  The initial images I downloaded a few weeks ago were not watermarked , subsequently they have watermarks. Merely posted for illustration and educational, especially given the pictures cover several decades.  Obviously no copyright infringement intended.

  1. Students, 1936/1937.  The odd frilled blouse as well as newer styles. A few seedha pallu style drapes, a good many “nivi” drapes. A mix of handlooms and prints.  And coats of course.

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2.  Mostly Parsi girls in 1951* and Una Chaudhuri in 1951.

The blouses and saris on the seven girls are very 50s (plain, prints).  Una Chaudhuri wears a printed sari with a border, with just the sari seen, the look could be from any decade really, especially 40s-70s.

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*Names listed as Dina Dordt, Piloo Mehta, Dina Daruwalla, Nergesh Motiwalla, Freany Vakil, Sheroo Mehta and Nergesh Kavarana.  Which reminds me – Navroze Greetings!

3. Tea Booth, 1963.

As seen here, in the early 60s simple silks replaced cotton/handlooms of the earlier decades and are often plain with a bit of zari or printed or with some kind of gold motif embossing.


The women in the pic are listed as Nazli-Rafiya Fyzee, Preshy Rai and possibly Leena Lal.

Posted in 1930s, 1950s, 1960s, 2017 posts, 20th century, India, Indian Aesthetics, Indian Costume, Indian Dress, Indian fashion, indian style, Indian Women, retro, retro fashion, Sari, Sari Blouse, sari drape, sari history, Vintage, Vintage Blouse, vintage fashion, vintage photography, vintage sari, Women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Karachi and Bombay, 30s/40s

The six yard sari must have been extremely on trend in the 30s and 40s (and of course it was also the peak years of the freedom struggle which might have added to it) since it cuts across communities and regions in the country. The sari drape is the same, just presented a little differently with each subculture.

On the left Zvia Epstein’s mother as a young woman, aged 19 (per my original notes, I think the link mistakenly identifies her as Zvia Epstein) in Karachi.  From the piece as well as the attire I guess this is late 30s/early 40s.

On the right a young Jewish woman in Bombay, 1948.  Its an elegant studio portrait. The blouse and drape reminded me a little of Nargis in Andaz, which suggests it was the style then.


Posted in 1930s, 1940s, 2017 posts, 20th century, Culture, fashion, Indian fashion, Indian Jews, Indian Women, mid century, Pakistan, Photography, Sari, Sari Blouse, sari drape, Studio Portraits, subcontinent, Vintage, Vintage Blouse, vintage photography, vintage sari | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In the 70s

The relaxed fashion of the 70s. Lungis, Maxis, Prints and more.


Worn with a short kurta. Accesorised with a choker, bindi and watch.


In the 70s : Kaftans, Halters, Maxis and Pant suits.

Via  : X, X and X.

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Rehana Sultan. (click for larger view).

From the photograph I can’t quite say if it is a lehenga/sharara/gharara but it is worn with a short tunic and dupatta and the stripes are reminiscent of Awadhi costumes.

Dupatta detail below.  The shaped eyebrows and curled hair are quite 70s.

19711 PTV Karachi, Zaheen Tahira, Zeenat Yasmin and Khurshid Talat in 1971 

There’s a little bit of everything here, sari with a sleeveless blouse (the 60s carried over for a bit), perhaps a gharara, embroidered and spangled trousers (name?), perhaps a salwar with a short kurta.

See also X and X.

Plucked eyebrows and hoop earrings.


In the 70s: The Sari
In my opinion the sari is elegant in a very easy way in this decade. Very no fuss, hardly any pinning, tucking of loose ends etc and just a drape that flows well. The brief blouses hark back to the choli but the matching blouse and light fabric make it of the time and an unobtrusive complement to the sari.
Rather obviously the decade loved prints and textile brands seem to have offered every hue and design. As Femina copy of the time says, “It’s print that makes a colour come alive, that stamps a character on a fabric.” Plenty of voiles – which contribute to the easy-breezy, low maintenance look of the time – but also polyesters and cottons.
Posted in 1970s, 2017 posts, Indian Aesthetics, Indian Costume, Indian Dress, Indian fashion, indian style, Indian Textiles, Indian Women, late 20th century, retro, retro fashion, Salwar Kameez, Sari, Sari Blouse, Vintage, vintage fashion, vintage sari, vintage style, Women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Everything that Shabana Azmi wore in Kadambari (1976)

With a side helping of her co-stars.

Screencaps from the uploaded youtube film.

Few actresses carry the 70s/80s look better than Shabana Azmi.  Plus she (and the costume designer) create a consistent look for the entire film, a costume capsule that speaks of the character, the actress and the decade.  So let’s look at what she wore as Chetana!

There are a few different kind of sarees here but most of all you will want a Khatau Terkosa revival (I think Terkosa is Terene, cotton, saree – if so its a polycot and looks a lot more comfortable for the Indian weather than the faux Kanjeevaram thick  polycotton of the 90s).  Other mills offered similar sarees too – DCM, Cali-cloth, Finlays etc.

The whole look is so casual and sophisticated, in no other decade does the sari look as soft and easily drapeable .  Plus it looks like an easy care working woman’s wardrobe. Though I like printed and more elaborate saree blouses I find that the 2 by 2 matched blouses of this decade focus attention on the saree and let it shine.

First up the prints which immediately recall the 70s:

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There are a fair few saris with prints and borders. As well as some of the large prints popular in the 70s. The bright rani pink with olive green dispersed in it – I didn’t expect to be so charmed by it.

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Above: These large prints dispersed on a white background – especially the white and blue one – are also very 70s, as seen in this Air India uniform.

There is nothing much to say about Vijay Arora’s costumes for this film given they are usually a pant-shirt combo with the occasional kurta but here he wears a kurta and lungi/dhoti.

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Above: A pretty pink leheriya and also a gloriously multi-coloured bandhani. Probably both chiffons.

Above: The plain sarees.

In the flashback scenes, a gharara (which in the 70s doesn’t look too much like the classic gharara, the narrow upper half and a flared bottom half seems to fit in with the bell bottom era). And a salwar worn with a short kurta.

Above: A lot of glass bangles matched to the sari. Even the multi coloured bandhani has perfectly co-ordinated bangles.

The bindis – both a sindoor sort and the plastic stick on.  And of course hoop earrings and plucked eyebrows. And the straight hair with a few side wisps.

Chetana’s brother and his girlfriend Sheetal are trendy and “groovy” in the first half but later Sheetal (Arpana Chowdhury) wears a few printed saris which are pleasant in their own way (also full view of bandhani on Chetana in last pic).

The pink sari on the left is on a minor character in the film but I added it because I have a vague memory of similar sarees being Terkosa and it induced a bit of nostalgia for my family’s wardrobe – I was a child but I think the women of the house made frequent trips to the Khatau showroom:).

Chand Usmani has a charming turn as the male lead’s mother who forms a bond with Shabana’s character,  her sarees are very simple (all single mothers must only wear white! kind of thing).

kad credits

Above: In the credits.

Notes on the movie: Kadambari is based on Amrita Pritam’s story, Dharti Sagar te Sippiyan.  The link to the movie is provided but the uploaded film has no subtitles.


Posted in 1970s, 2017 posts, Accessories, Actor, bindi, Cinema, Indian Dress, Indian fashion, Indian Tales, Indian Textiles, Indian Women, late 20th century, Movies, Prints, retro, retro cinema, retro fashion, retro hair, Salwar Kameez, Sari, Sari Blouse, Vintage, Vintage Blouse, vintage cinema, vintage fashion, vintage sari, vintage style, Working Women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

80s/90s Redux 2

“Filmy” fashions are quite often confined to film (and rightfully so!) but in the case of some of the late 80s/90s fashion here, these were actual trends that I can remember.

The late 80s had a lot of geometric patterns stitched together, ruched kurtas, large floral motifs etc. – feels like this was the birth of “Indo-Western”. Pic 1′s outfit of Maine Pyar Kiya was a bonafide hit of the season, with street versions available everywhere. As was the jacket Salman wears that Bhagyashree is holding in the pic.

Pic above are two 80s/early 90s staples, heavy mirror work and the entire print and match outfit right down to the dupatta. Versions of these are still around, though pic 4 kind of outfits are quite dated.

Deep love for the single colour, shiny sari in the 90s – the Surat mills must have churned them out in every colour. But yellow really ruled from what I remember and was worn with a heavy mirror work blouse or something equally dramatic.

As I always say why was I young in this decade:) Of these I had the print sets and the mirror work tunics, the latter of which I would probably still wear albeit with tinier mirrors than du jour in the early 90s.

Mostly sourced from Indomania.  The actresses: Bhagyashree, Meenakshi Seshadri, Kimi Katkar, Pooja Bhatt, Nagma. Mamta Kulkarni.

Posted in 1980s, 1990s, 2017 posts, Bollywood, churidar kameez, churidar kurta, Costumes in Cinema, fashion, Indian Dress, Indian fashion, Indian Women, late 20th century, Movies, retro, retro cinema, retro fashion, retro hair, salwar, Salwar Kameez, Sari, Sari Blouse | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

80s/90s Redux 1

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Mostly Rekha’s specracktular headgear.

I feel like in the 80s/90s she ordered up all the headgear she could lay her hands on, luckily this has been documented for posterity.

About 50% of the headgear seems to be Russian Czarina meets Diwali kandeel. I feel the need for a Madam X homage line.

Also obviously Rekha was there before Lady Gaga.

At some point I thought Rekha ditched the headgear and snapped up every single Kanjeevaram sari around but I am happy to note that Rekha is still Queen of the Turban and seems to have converted an entire dupatta into a fetching turban.

Mostly sourced from Indomania.

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In 1940 Nehru wrote:

I have been to Bombay so many times, but I have never seen the coming of the monsoon there. I had been told and I had read that this coming of the first rains was an event in Bombay; they came with pomp and circumstance and overwhelmed the city with their lavish gift.
So I looked forward to the coming of the monsoon and became a watcher of the skies, waiting to spot the heralds that preceded the attack. A few showers came. Oh, that was nothing, I was told; the monsoon has yet to come. Heavier rains followed, but I ignored them and waited for some extraordinary happening. While I waited I learned from various people that the monsoon had definitely come and established itself. Where was the pomp and circumstance and glory of the attack, and the combat between cloud and land, and the surging and lashing sea? Like a thief in the night the monsoon had come to Bombay……Another illusion gone. [X]

dhurandhar 1

M.V. Dhurandhar, 1940. Like much of his artwork, this one too has detailed costuming. A nine-yard irkal saree delicately hitched up, the khann blouse, kolhapuri chappals and the ubiquitous black umbrella of Mumbai monsoons of times past.

For some reason it reminded me of Hemen Mazumdar’s work in evoking a slightly wet world.


Posted in 1940s, Art, costumes in art, India, indian art, Indian Dress, indian style, Indian Women, Maharashtra, Paintings, regional styles, Sari, Sari Blouse, vintage art, vintage sari, women in art | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment