- Published on Friday, 24 August 2012 14:26
- Category: Culture
Pardon last week’s hiatus, but I am sure you got your Mideast fashion fix with Erin Joyce’s insightful interview with fashion industry’s bigwig Georges Chakra.
This week, we’re turning the spotlight onto one of the hottest accessories to hit fashion recently: headpieces. Now a popular novelty with celebrities and within fashion circles-- thanks to the rise of boho chic and hippie fashion-- celebrities such as Vanessa Hudgens, Kim Kardashian, Alicia Keys and Nicole Richie are strong advocates of the headpiece trend. Richie has even incorporated the trend in her House of Harlow 1960 jewelry line. From intricate, diamond-encrusted pieces to simple intertwined chains, there has been quite an impressive range of headpieces out in the market.
Though all the rage is amongst fashionistas here in the US, this regal trend has its roots in the opulent and magnificent culture of the Mughal Empire. Attaching great importance and symbolism to their jewelry, they implemented exhaustive and elaborate manual labor to make timeless jewelry pieces. Men adorned their turbans with ostentatious gold headpieces encrusted with pearls and gemstones whilst women of the empire decked themselves out in lavish jewelry, with the headpiece being the most prominent of all, worn according to their status and importance in society.
Headpiece jewelry is still highly sought-after in the Indian sub-continental region, with present-day designers keeping the Mughal-era trend alive by replicating their designs and jewelry-making techniques. The most popular style of headpieces worn these days is tikka, a chain that drapes the head and dangles on the forehead, secured with a small hook that attaches to your hair. Other styles include jhoomar, a fan-shaped cousin of the tikka that is worn on the side of the head; and matha patti, which consists of one or several chains going along the hairline, replacing the tikka and the jhoomar. All three can be found in gold, silver and copper and are adorned with precious and semiprecious stones. These headpieces are an essential part of the bridal ensemble in South Asian cultures and are designed according to the bride’s outfit and other jewelry pieces. Close family members and friends of the bride and the groom also wear simpler and less embellished versions.
A variant of the bejeweled headpiece also appears in Egyptian history, not least notable of which were the unique headdresses worn by Egyptian gods. Cleopatra is often shown wearing beautiful headpieces in photographic depictions; and who could forget Elizabeth Taylor’s wearing priceless chains and jewels for her rendition of the famous Egyptian queen?
Headpieces made of coins take center stage with folk costumes from other Middle East countries such as Turkey, Palestine and Morocco. You can read more about the cultural, religious and historical significance of Bedouin jewelry here.
Karl Lagerfeld brought the headpiece trend full circle with his “Paris-Bombay” themed Chanel Pre-Fall 2012 collection. The collection seems to be a modern-day look at the extravagant and grand lifestyle of the Mughals, which ultimately fell to European invaders. For the sake of this article, let’s just ignore the beautiful and divine silks and tweeds used in his collection and only focus on the exquisite headpieces that helped recreate the days of the Mughal raj.
For those of us who might not be lucky enough to be given a Mughal-era hand-me-down headpiece, or for those of us who can’t quite afford the 21st century recreations from Chanel’s collection, we can certainly still be modern-day boho chic princesses in our maxi dresses and wide-leg pants with trendy and affordable headpieces from our favorite fashion retailer. Check out this multi-chain headpiece from Urban Outfitters at only $19. The simple symmetrical chain design is highly wearable, and is a hassle-free way to accessorize a simple white tee. To avoid looking like a fashion victim, keep all other accessories to a minimum and have your regal-looking headpiece steal the show.By Alnas Zia, Aslan Media Contributing Writer and Multimedia Assistant
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