Lady Bomanji wears an elegant costume that was very obviously meant to simulate a saree to represent her Indian homeland. The formal portrait by Bassano was made in England in June, 1922. Her husband, Dunjibhoy Bomanji, was given an honourary knighthood by King George V that year. The couple, noted philanthropists, lived in Britain for many years. Shown seated below are Bomanji, Princess Alice, Earl Haig (his Countess above in the striped coat), and Lady Bomanji in what may be a proper saree over a fashionable blouse.
Published in London 100 years ago, these Warwick Goble illustrations for a collection of stories from Bengal are too cute! This muted gold saree with an embellished black border (no choli necessary), is classically elegant.
Yes, they look a lot like Arthur Rackham’s fairy-tale drawings of the same era, but I love Goble’s interpretations of a mythic India. Black hair and a black saree paired with a dramatic red choli help draw the viewer’s eye in from the soft tints of the rest of the image. The entire book, with other charming illustrations, is available to read online.
This slightly damaged postcard shows a neat mix of Western fashion and South Indian styling. Two of the girls wear their sarees over trendy blouses and the third has a traditional little choli - all three sporting loads of jewellery with tight belts the focal point. Seated lower down, the fourth girl appears to be in a basque bodice and skirt, a more old-fashioned Euro outfit. I especially like the checked saree with the satin blouse.
Just a pretty Indian image, and hopes for peace for everyone 65 years on…. Jai Hind!!
I love the coin-dot saree on this petite woman from the early 20th century. Though the colouring added to the image is beautifully done, I think we’ve lost something in the translation. Was the saree really a solid grey with white circles? It looks heavier than I suspect it was, more flat or less delicate, if you see what I’m (not) seeing. The woven golden border does retain its sheen.
The model’s traditional velvet choli has ornaments of silk or metallic embroidery that follow the simple construction of the sleeve along the neck and down the body. And I like her stacked necklaces, a pearl choker above the piece at her throat. A feather fan, small earrings and minimal bracelets complete her look of restrained elegance.
Dancer/actress Radha Sri Ram had a role in the movie “The River,” shot entirely in India by noted director Jean Renoir. Her saree (I’m picturing it in red), is interesting because it might be printed or resist dyed and looks like a bandhni pattern. What do you think?
According to the newspaper caption, Radha was considered one of the top three classical dancers at the time, and she had a degree in Sanskrit! She was truly a natural beauty; note the lack of makeup – not even mascara. The Technicolor film played in New York City for 34 weeks and won several international awards, though few remember it today. I’ll watch it soon as a computer-view on Amazon.