Sunday, June 6, 2010

Styles from India

The English East India Company introduced the British to the wonders of colorful, washable cottons for dress and decorating. The earliest pieces were novelties that arrived with the much desired and very profitable spices from the West Indies early in the 17th century. 

Soon EIC officials were sending design/color ideas to the Indian craftsmen, lighter backgrounds and examples of familiar European floral motifs. Calicos and chintzes, usually hand painted, flowed into England and on to the American colonies. The 'pieces' were made into European style garments.

Three particular articles of Indian dress were incorporated into European fashion: the banyan, the sari and the Kashmir shawl. The banyan was a man's loose robe constructed in a simple 'T' shape.

A scene from Masters and Commanders.

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