INDIA

WESTERN DRESS IN INDIA

[Travels to Burma and Egypt] (1933-1935)
Title: [Travels to India and Egypt]
Date: (1933-1935)
Film-maker: Flavell Family

The Western guests at a wedding in India (seen in the above film still) are dressed fashionably in Western styles. One lady wears a floral print silk chiffon dress with flounced sleeves in the contemporary bias cut. The bias cut was championed by Parisian couturier Madeleine Vionnet. The fabric is cut diagonally, which makes it stretchy and enables it to relate to the movement of the body beneath it. Another woman wears a polka dot dress. Polka dots were popular in the late 1920s and the 1930s. An Indian man is seen wearing an army uniform.


SNAKE CHARMER

Title: [Travels to India and Egypt]
Date: (1933-1935)
Film-maker: Flavell Family

The man’s clothing in the above clip shows both indigenous and western elements of fashion. He wears a blazer decorated with badges and a pocket watch, a turban and a plaid sarong. Clothing and accessories from different global regions were spread by travel and international military campaigns, as well as by trade. This ‘hybrid’ outfit could transform the meaning, value and significance of clothing, as items were adopted by people in different cultures and of various ethnic and class backgrounds.

Turbans became popular for women in the West towards the end of the first decade of the twentieth century and were used by French fashion designer Paul Poiret. He favoured an unstructured silhouette that did not use corsets and was inspired by Western ideas of ‘exoticism’. Three photographs dated 1925 by Man Ray depict Peggy Guggenheim wearing a Poiret gown and turban. These can be viewed on the website of the Man Ray trust (Item No. 1339, HO29401 & F1350).