Posts Tagged ‘fashions’

Haircut, 130417

April 13, 2017

Snip, snip, snip, go the scissors and bits of my hair fall (the best kind of hair fall there is.) I relax and close my eyes. Will this end well or will I look like Raggedy Ann? I don’t know, but I am content to leave it to fate, and the hairdresser. The lady in the next seat, with her hair in a made-of-dye-cap, smiles at me. Snip,snip,snip…every haircut is a calendar, measuring out the time in the length of my hair. Short hair has been a great thing for me; I learnt how to swim, I didn’t have to put up sweaty hair in a perpetual bun….with a light heart, and a lighter head, I walk home. Snip, snip, snip…a half hour more out of my life, but gone in serenity and peace.

What my friend Ravikiran had to say:

I love getting a haircut – That feeling of getting that weight off your head, the metronomic rhythmic snip-snipping of the scissors lulling you into a state of mild hypnotic drowsiness, the faint musky fragrance of the talcum powder, the slap-whack-rub scalp massage at the end – all followed by a long hot shower when I get home.

Movies and fashions…

September 27, 2011

I don’t know if it happens as often with Hollywood movies but Bollywood (Bombay or Mumbai, movie capital of India) certainly sets off fashions every now and then.

One of the earliest vogues I remember was the “Sadhna cut”. Sadhna was a famous film star, with the classic good looks of a woman of the Sindhi community. She started the fad of a fringe cut across the forehead, and many a mother fancied herself, as well as her daughter, better looking with the “Sadhna cut”.

Here’s a lovely song, where Sadhna sports her “cut”:

Another craze that I remember was the “Jewel Thief” hat. An affair of checkered cloth, jauntily perched on the side of the evergreen actor Dev Anand (a Gregory Peck lookalike who celebrated his 88th birthday a couple of years ago and who was famous for acting with younger and younger heroines as he got older and older) in that movie, it set the cities and towns on fire. In a land where only old babus wore “topees” and only villagers wore turbans, the young men went around clamouring for the “Jewel Thief” hat!

Here’s a lovely song, where Dev is wearing that hat!

I also vaguely remember a tie for the hair, which was popularized by the movie “Love in Tokyo”. I never watched the movie…but I do remember the elastic bands, threaded through two large beads which were twisted around the hair and interlocked…for a long time, I thought it was called “luvintokio” and only later realized that it had been named after a movie. I don’t know if Asha Parekh, the heroine, ever wore one in the movie…but here’s a song from that movie:

In more recent times, I once walked into a shop in Pondy Bazaar in Chennai, and was unable to figure out some netting material, in a sparkly finish, that was being sold as “kuchukuchu”. Surely quite a nasty name, I thought…and decided to ask the shop assistant about it. “Oh, the actress in ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ wears blouses made with similar material,” he explained. (The movie name means, ” A certain something is felt”…as a rough translation). Ah, now the name kuchukuchu made sense! (I did not feel tempted to buy the sparkly net.)

Perhaps because I am not fashion-conscious, I don’t remember too many instances of such movie-inspired fashions, but I am sure you can tell me of many more!

So fur and no fur-ther…the Mink

June 16, 2011

I truly do think
That the semi-acquatic Mink
Needs its own fur coat
To keep afloat
In chilly, bone-freezing water;
If a modiste wants fur,
Deny it to her:
She mustn’t wear mink…or even otter.

Old film clips from the 50’s and 60’s

August 21, 2008

I do love watching old film clips, and not only for the beautiful songs and the often superb lyrics in many of the Youtube videos. The styles, the fashions of yesterday are fascinating! How much I enjoy looking at the beehive hairdos and the fish-like kohl extensions at the edge of the heroine’s eyes! It’s interesting to see how north Indian clothes are slowly accepted, and also, “western” apparel makes it slow but steady appearance, and the styles of jewellery also change. Watches appear on actress’ wrists, and then, from the dainty ladies’ watches, they become the “with-it” (then) square watches! Ribbons are a frequently used fashion accessories; bindis are NOT a must; Women wear high heels (but the buxomness of the women does not change..indeed, with some established actresses, increased girth seems to be the measure of their stardom.

Men’s clothes…no tees, the word “jeans” was unknown….they used to wear what was known as “bush shirts” (presumably as worn in the bush areas of the forest…and slowly, synthetic fabrics such as “dacron” become fashionable. Shoes become ridiculously pointed….but “floaters” don’t exist.

Children’s dresses are also not of a great variety; of course, little girls wear those stiff,frilly frocks. It is refreshing to see old movies like “Pather Panchali” where young ones wear just the dhoti or the saree, but one wonders if the clothes hindered the children’s play…

And I must say, especially in Tamizh movies, I am highly tickled to watch what I call the “pencil sharpener” breasts, that seem to jut out straight from the collar-bone…and watching 50-someting adipose actors pretend to be college students adds a dose of laughter to the most tragic scene!

Here’s a trailer of an old Tamizh movie, “pAlum pazhamum” (Milk and Fruit– the bride usually approaches the groom on her wedding night with a tray containing milk and fruit)….

you can see just how fat heroes were, how buxom the women; how the villains declaimed, how the heroes shouted, with their (yes) kohl-lined eyes sparkling with passion; the melodrama underscored by the really beautiful music and lyrics, which was the reason many of us went to see those movies!

Just imagine…halfway down the last century….that IS long ago….

A Fashion Post

July 17, 2008

I also realize I rarely do fashion posts….so here’s the latest in monsoon headgear, as demonstrated by my daughter (it’s just sheer coincidence that this top model is related to me by blood ties.)

This is, ladies and genmun, a very eco-friendly fashion statement…it uses up those plastic bags that would otherwise go and pollute the environment…

The dowdy frump…is the one taking the photograph!

Something that’s disappearing…

June 13, 2008

Walking in BTM Layout today, I spotted this laughing young girl:

She is wearing the “dhAvaNi”, which is also called the “half-saree”. It is a “pAvAdai-shattai” (long skirt and blouse) worn with a half-saree. Most south Indian young girls used to wear this once upon a time; my theory is, that the girls attaining puberty would have the remnants of sarees from older family members and would wear that along with the pAvAdai-sattai that they already possessed. The developing bosom had to be covered, in our prudish culture, so the pAvAdai-sattai of the younger days had to include the dhAvaNi, also. How did the dhAvaNi get its name? I don’t know.

The dhAvani in Tamizh culture and literature symbolizes the girl’s attaining maturity in many ways. There’s a movie by Bhagyaraj called “dhAvaNik kanavugaL” (dhAvaNi dreams)…and I still remember the lovely old song, “pAvAdai dhAvaniyil pArtha uruvamA?…ivaL poovadai veeshi vara, poottha paruvamA?” (Is this the form that I saw in pAvAdai dhAvaNi, is she blooming and redolent of floral fragrance?”)

A lovely thing about that song…the primary rhymes are “uruvamA” and “paruvamA”..but the secondary rhymes, “pAvAdai” and “poovAdai”….one is “pAvAdai”…”pAvai + Adai” …the garment that a pAvai, or a girl, wears; and the other is “poovAdai”…”poo + vAdai”…flower + fragrance.

What mastery of the language these lyrics show….

The half-saree is such an essential part of Tamizh culture….I wonder how many young women wear it any more. In the old days, when a young woman got married, she had to start wearing “pudavai” or sarees, and put by the attire of her unmarried girlhood.

I actually studied in a south Indian school in Calcutta which had both skirts/shirts and half-sarees as the uniform for the girls. The sight of this young girl brought back many pleasant memories…

Dressing…

September 13, 2007

I have always been a bit of a non-conformist on the issue of clothing…I have never bothered to go by the latest (or indeed, some of the fashions that have been prevailing for a while), and refuse to typecast people because of the clothes they wear. I irritate my same-age friends with my opinion that on young, pretty girls, somewhat revealing clothing looks really great…if they can’t take pride in their young, lovely bodies now, when can they? Certainly not at the age when body parts, instead of obeying the F-dictates( those of fashion), start obeying the G-dictates (those of gravity).

But today, it was brought forcibly home to me that there IS, indeed such a thing as dressing appropriately to one’s age, and according to the culture that one belongs to….I saw a lady who is my age dressed in a manner that was neither suited to her age nor her very thin figure…I realize that I, personally, prefer someone to err on the side of pleasant plumpness than Twiggy scrawniness/

I also have a theory about adornment….that when a woman is young, she doesn’t need too many ornaments because her youth is ornament enough; and when she is older, she shouldn’t have too many ornaments because it,sometimes, only accentuates the wrinkles and the lack of youthful freshness. Like in all things, I feel that jewellery and dressing up should also be in moderation….

No, I don’t think I am being catty,because I know something of the lady I am talking about and she is a really sweet-natureed person….the close friend of a close friend.

Good quality clothing, with a good cut and style, to me, are forever. I have followed the same style of saree blouses and salwar kameezes now for many, many years (saves me endless trouble with the tailor, and worries about keeping up with the Joan-ses!) and when one catty person told me I lacked style, I remarked that *that* was my style.

Asha Bhosle was once asked what she thought about remixes of old songs. “Not good,” she said. “No matter how much jewellery an older woman wears…an older woman IS an older woman!”

Dressing…

September 13, 2007

I have always been a bit of a non-conformist on the issue of clothing…I have never bothered to go by the latest (or indeed, some of the fashions that have been prevailing for a while), and refuse to typecast people because of the clothes they wear. I irritate my same-age friends with my opinion that on young, pretty girls, somewhat revealing clothing looks really great…if they can’t take pride in their young, lovely bodies now, when can they? Certainly not at the age when body parts, instead of obeying the F-dictates( those of fashion), start obeying the G-dictates (those of gravity).

But today, it was brought forcibly home to me that there IS, indeed such a thing as dressing appropriately to one’s age, and according to the culture that one belongs to….I saw a lady who is my age dressed in a manner that was neither suited to her age nor her very thin figure…I realize that I, personally, prefer someone to err on the side of pleasant plumpness than Twiggy scrawniness/

I also have a theory about adornment….that when a woman is young, she doesn’t need too many ornaments because her youth is ornament enough; and when she is older, she shouldn’t have too many ornaments because it,sometimes, only accentuates the wrinkles and the lack of youthful freshness. Like in all things, I feel that jewellery and dressing up should also be in moderation….

No, I don’t think I am being catty,because I know something of the lady I am talking about and she is a really sweet-natureed person….the close friend of a close friend.

Good quality clothing, with a good cut and style, to me, are forever. I have followed the same style of saree blouses and salwar kameezes now for many, many years (saves me endless trouble with the tailor, and worries about keeping up with the Joan-ses!) and when one catty person told me I lacked style, I remarked that *that* was my style.

Asha Bhosle was once asked what she thought about remixes of old songs. “Not good,” she said. “No matter how much jewellery an older woman wears…an older woman IS an older woman!”

Men…and hair…

March 22, 2007

I’ve been noticing for the past decade or more, that human males seem to be evolving towards less hair on their heads. Baldness has always been around, but it was generally associated with middle to old age; but now I find, more and more, that young men, even in their mid-twenties, are either thinning or balding altogether. Could this be due to stressful lifestyles, detergent-based shampoos, or evolution?

Given the increasing trend, though, it is a pity that hair is still such a “feature” of beauty, as much as in the male as in the female. In earlier times, hair was considered an aspect of beauty, so much so that widows in South India were shorn, and women in Islamic countries had to hide their hair even if their faces could be visible. But this aesthetic sense has not changed in the past few centuries…but hair patterns seem to have done so!

Women with sparse hair do have a tough time competing with their fuller-head-of-hair sisters….but I notice the same sense of competition amongst males, with the more-locks men being insufferably smug sometimes.

And men seem to also always keep experimenting with facial hair….every young man I know has, at some point or the other, tried out a beard, but not the traditional full one, or even the Islamic no-mustache one…they usually try out goatees, or that little triangle of hair under the lower lip that looks as if they forgot to shave it…and then, of course, the beard disappears, because, I suppose, of the discovery that maintaining a beard is not a simple matter of no shaving.

I don’t however, see much differences in mustaches …no soup-strainer, Rajasthani lip-to-ear, no “hanging” ones….just regular mustaches are all that I, at least, see around me. Er…should I say “mustache” like the Americans or “moustache” like the English?