August 8, 2017

Indian vintage fashion had its brilliant moments in the 20th century. From royalty to film actresses, everyone was serious about dressing up and looking glam. We dug out some old photos that you would fall in love with. This mesmerizing collection goes beyond just what the women are wearing. Each of these photos is invaluable, quite extraordinary and unique in so many ways that words would fail us. Here’s a look at divas from yesteryears who knew how to slay. Read on to know how their personal style has survived through decades and looks stunning even today.

1. Madhubala – The Enigma

Arguably the most beautiful woman Bollywood ever saw, Madhubala was quipped as the “Marilyn Monroe of India”. Her ethereal beauty won her as many accolades as her acting talent. When it came to fashion, Madhubala was a ‘goddess’. And we don’t use that term lightly – with each character she played, she could turn sultry, serious or sweet – but always thoroughly magnificent. The legendary beauty has left nearly impossible style standards to match.

Indian vintage fashion

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Earrings by Vaitaanika | Meenakari polki jewellery set by Sunita Shekhawat

Indian vintage fashion

2. Reita Faria – More Than Just a Pretty Face

Reita became the first Asian woman to win the Miss World title in 1966. But she was much more than just a beauty queen. She was also an accomplished doctor who practised for many years in the US. Reita always carried herself with poise and was often spotted wearing breezy summer sarees during her Miss World days. Wondering what she is up to now? Read more about her here.

Indian vintage fashion

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Kota Saree by Vidhi Singhania

Vidhi Singhania collection

3. Meena Kumari – A Woman of Substance

Despite a tragic backstory, Meena Kumari ruled the world of Indian cinema till 1972. She had an amazing combination of sensuality and modesty – a trademark so peculiar to her that she exuded a mystical charm, according to the late journalist Vinod Mehta, who wrote her biography. “In every frame of the film she filled the screen with her presence,” he said. She was also an accomplished poetess and an avid reader.

Indian vintage fashion

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Dress like a woman of substance and style like Meena Kumari in this Pooja Rajpal Jaggi ensemble.

Indian vintage fashion

4. Zohra Sehgal – The Drama Queen

One thing that stood out about Zohra Sehgal was that she had an unstoppable spirit. She defied all odds and turned the conventional notion of women in 1930s on its head. She was the first Indian woman to learn ballet and also the first to win a prestigious international award for her film “Neech Nagar”. Zohra lived her life to the fullest (she passed away at the age of 101) and always remained passionate towards her art until the very end. When it came to fashion, she had a taste for the bold and dramatic, just like her personality.

In her own words, “I don’t understand the hullabaloo about inner beauty. What actually brings out your beauty is the radiance of being content and you can only be content when you are employed in something you love.”

Indian vintage fashion

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Polki earrings by Sunita Shekhawat

Indian vintage fashion

5.  Deepti Naval – Seriously Charming

The Chashme Baddoor actress lit up the screen a few months ago in the Hollywood film Lion. Even though she had a brief appearance, her serious charm and intense acting still remain noteworthy. Deepti Naval mostly portrayed de-glam characters yet the audience was hooked by her simplistic charisma.

“It is very easy to get carried away when you are young and accept the regular set of roles with costume changes and hip swing dance moves. I made a conscious decision to do roles that represent realistic women who are my age. I would not be the fantasy of the male audience,” she said in a recent interview with a newspaper.

Indian vintage fashion

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Kota Sarees by Vidhi Singhania

The earthy and realistic characters she portrayed in the 80s are very much relatable even today. Her dressing was devoid of bling and loud colours and focused more on practical wear. If you too believe less is more, then try these minimal sarees.

Indian vintage fashion

6. Maharani Gayatri Devi – A Fairytale Princess

Her story is nothing short of a fairytale. Of how a little girl called Ayesha, who rode on an elephant most her evenings metamorphosed into Rajmata Gayatri Devi. She came from a family, where women were fiercely independent. She herself moved so far beyond the traditional restrictions that she won a seat in the Indian Parliament. And along with her fierceness, there was an aura of glamour around her, which made her even more irresistible. Vogue magazine listed her as one of the most beautiful women in the world.

Even as she aged, her style remained ageless and eternal. “Style comes naturally to me. I guess, you’re just born with it,” she told in one of her last interviews in 2009.

Indian vintage fashion

Rajmata Gayatri Devi

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Saree by Malasa

Indian vintage fashion

7. Zeenat Aman – The Rebel

When Zeenat entered the Hindi film industry in the 70s, she refused to wear bouffant hair and was hardly ever seen in sarees and bindi. She revolutionized the portrayal of women on screen – she wore a bikini without looking vulgar, strummed a guitar and never waited for a man to rescue her. Her fashion too was freestyle and fun loving like her personality.

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Vintage earrings by Divya Chugh

Indian vintage fashion

8. Saadhna – The Quintessential Heroine

Her trademark fringes, known as the “Sadhna cut”, remain popular even today. The romantic heroine was often seen in pristine white sarees and elegant hairdos.

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White sharara by Malasa

Indian vintage fashion

9. Vyjayanthimala – The Southern Beauty

Such was her dancing prowess that Vyjayanthimala danced to “hothon pe aisi baat” in a single shot. The song became a huge influence for ushering in ‘dance numbers’ that we see today. She was always made a fashion statement in a seductive nose ring and winged eyeliner that highligted her big eyes even more.

Indian vintage fashion

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Nose Ring by Sunita Shekhawat

Indian vintage fashion

CONTACT VENDORS

Sunita Shekhawat | Facebook | Website | Instagram |

Vaitaanika | Facebook | Website Instagram |

Malasa | Facebook Instagram |

Pooja Rajpal Jaggi Website  |

Vidhi Singhania Website | Facebook | Instagram

Divya Chugh | Instagram