GEARS & STEAM
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sweetwinter
Reblogged from vintageindianclothing  30 notes

vintageindianclothing:

In a Bengali magazine subscribed to by my mother there had appeared in 1901 an illustration showing two Bengali girls in the late Victorian English dress. “Who are these girls?” we asked in some perplexity, for they, though dressed like English girls, did not look English. My mother explained that the older girl was Toru Dutt, the young poetess who was the only Indian whose English verse was recognised as poetry in England, and the other was her sister, Aru. Nirad Chaudhuri.

If Bengal was where dress reform and the possible variations to Indian dress were much discussed (at one point the salwar kameez was also considered before Jnanadanandini settled on the sari ensemble), it was also a place where a few young women flirted with or embraced the Western fashions of the time (common enough with men, far less common with women). Toru Dutt (Pic 1) for e.g.was almost always seen in Western gowns and dresses.

In some cases, as with Swarnalata Ghosh seen in Pic 2 in a riding dress, husbands encouraged both the change in dress and public participation of their wives.

Then of course there are the royals who spent much time abroad, by the early 20th century the wearing of contemporary Western fashion was common amongst the set. Amongst the royals, Gayatri Devi’s breeches are well documented, but to my mind it is the young princess of Cooch Behar, Sudhira, who is the best of the lot wearing the Edwardian fashions of her time with aplomb. (see also her sister Pretiva Devi aka Princess Pretty). And the family of Sir Afzar Jung Bahadur, the ADC and Commander of the Hyderabad Army.

For more on Toru Dutt: [X] [X] [X]. And a short piece by Sudhira Devi’s daughter.

This looks like a pretty great blog!

Reblogged from ktempest  5,080 notes

dynamicafrica:

In Photos: “Signares” by Fabrice Monteiro.

Exploring history and fashion along the west coast of Africa, for his series ‘Signares' Belgian-Beninese photographer Fabrice Monteiro recalls a time in history where distinct cultures collided.

As European traders and explorers began to ascend on Africa’s west coast around the 15th and 16th century, as these men where forbidden from bringing their families and wives from their home countries, they began to intermingle and intermarry with African women in the Senegambia region. As a result of these relations, many of these women began to orchestrate business dealings to their benefits “using these partnerships to bolster their socioeconomic standing and personal trading enterprises”. One signare in the 1770s from St Louis, Senegal, is noted to have been a property owner and dealer as she bought and sold property in Saint-Domingue, while “five other signares in Gorée signed a petition against a poorly run French company that had been awarded an exclusive contract with the island”. 

Although these relations were not at first recognized by colonial and European authorities, it later became acceptable for Europeans living in Senegal to marry and have their descendants profit from these unions through heritage rights. Most of these women were considered to be of a high class and often married “middle-class executives or French and English aristocrats”. Naturally, a new sense of fashion was born as the women combined their own traditional styles with European attire at the time.

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