Devika Rani Chaudhuri
Devika Rani by Svetoslav Roerich c1946
Portrait of early Indian film actress Devika Rani, painted by her husband, Russian artist, Svetoslav Roerich.
Perhaps more than anyone else Indira Devi’s daughter, the much photographed Gayatri Devi consolidated the “Princess style” in India. Chiffons (often draped over the head), a single strand of pearls and simple little blouses spelt elegance and style for very many years. A tad matronly perhaps….or more correctly they represented the transition from girlhood to responsible womanhood for many Indian women.
Gayatri Devi (Maharani Gayatri Devi, Rajmata of Jaipur), 1940s
“Sanyogita Devi, Maharani of Indore in western dress” by Bernard Boutet de Monvel, c. 1929.
SANYOGITA, MAHARANI VON INDORE, CA. 1930 By Man Ray
Sanyogita Devi, Maharani of Indore by Man Ray c1930
To continue with the blouse without an upper garment theme, a still of Nalini Jaywant, once one of India’s top actresses. The look was usually reserved for dance sequences and finished off with a lot of upper body jewellery.
Ms Jaywant was one of the actresses photographed by James Burke for Life magazine. The photos aren’t spectacular or inspired and one wonders why some of India’s top actresses agreed to pose like Hollywood starlets. Inspite of the tackiness of the shoot, Ms Jaywant’s natural charm shines through. And demonstrates that you can at a pinch drape a saree over a swimsuit :-)
Nalini Jaywant, 1940s