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About Turbans

Turbans have been worn since ancient times by people of different cultures, more often as a sign of their faith, and exclusively by men. I want to tell you about the turban as a headdress that women have turned into a fashion accessory. Today turbans can be seen in cinema, on the catwalk, in fashion magazines, on the beaches, and in city streets.

European women began wearing this exotic garment at the end of the 17th century. J. Vermeer's painting Girl with a Pearl Earring (1665) evidences it. Scarlett Johansson had the main role in a 2013 film of the same name as the painting. The film hypothetically tells how the painting was created. But the turban did not become a fashionable accessory at that time. It took another century for this.

At the end of the 18th century, trade relations between Europe and India increased and the turban began to come into fashion. This was facilitated by this time trendsetter Queen of France Marie Antoinette. She often wore turbans adorned with flowers, exotic feathers, pearls, and precious stones. Over time, other aristocrats began to wear turbans, not only in France but throughout Europe. This is reflected in the portraits of the 18th-19th centuries. By the end of the Napoleonic Wars, women stopped wearing turbans.

Paris, 1800

And only a century later, before the First World War, the turban again became fashionable. Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes (Saisons Russes) in Paris, especially the ballet Scheherazade with costumes created by the artist L. Bakst, popularized turbans. Parisian fashion houses, inspired by this ballet, have created new collections with oriental motives.

Costumes' sketches for the ballet Scheherazade, 1910:

The fashion designer Paul Poiret was successful with the oriental collection. The collection created a real sensation, and Parisians liked to wear fashionable turbans. Hairstyles with large volume had changed to short haircuts. The turban became one of the most fashionable and glamorous wardrobe items.

Paul Poiret also hosted a masquerade ball called A Thousand and Two Nights in his Parisian mansion. All the guests dressed in oriental style clothes, most of which were created by Poiret.

The turban became very popular in silent films. It helped to show the beauty of the actress's face.

Pola Negri, Anna May Wong, Greta Garbo:

Gloria Swenson wore turbans in the 1920s, and in 1950 she wore them in the film Sunset Boulevard (1950):

Since the 1930s, turbans have been popularized by the fashion designer Madame Gres. She loved to decorate her head with turbans. Madame Gres created dresses for great women - Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Grace Kelly, Vivien Leigh, Barbra Streisand, and many others.

In the 1940s, the turban became a practical accessory because it helped hide imperfections in a hairstyle even working in the factory. Actresses and models wore luxurious turban models.

At that time, women knew many ways to tie a turban from a scarf. In this video, Anna Edwards, fashion expert and editor of Woman magazine, demonstrates several of these ways:

In the 1940s, the turban came to Europe from the USA influenced by Brazilian singer and actress Carmen Miranda.

In the post-war years, hats that imitated a turban appeared. They have not disappeared even today. These hats are loved not only by actresses but also by members of royal families.

In the 1950s turban hats were created by the great Christian Dior...

... and Claude Saint-Cyr.

Turbans in fashion magazines, 1960s:

Style icons Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor were fond of turbans.

Elizabeth Taylor in Boom! (1968) wearing an extravagant turban hat:

In the 1970s, during the disco style peak, turbans were often worn over loose hair.

Like mother like daughter - singer Diana Ross in the 1970s and her daughter, actress Tracy Ellis Ross in 2018:

In the 1980s, Joan Collins loved to wear turbans not only on the screen but also in everyday life.

Women in turbans on the covers of Vogue magazine in different decades (1945, 1956, 1965, 2017):

Turban in 2000s:

ТA turban on runway:

Nowadays editorials in fashion magazines with a turban:

Street style with a turban:

Today, the queen of the turbans is Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the second of the three wives of the 3rd Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa. As a religious woman, she always covers her head with a turban and stylishly matches it with her clothes.


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