Spring has arrived, and i've begun dreaming of a wardrobe filled with rayon '40s frocks in floral & ethnic patterns, platform espadrilles, and a rainbow of eclectic turbans. I'd recently remembered a fun interview with Erykah Badu, from back in the '90s, where the journalist inquired as to what her huge yellow turban meant to her, and Badu hazily replied that it was basically a symbol of her inner-royalty and wrapping her mind "in knowledge". I'm all for that trippy theory, but am also jazzed at the prospect of wrapping my head in dazzling rajah regalia. Here are some divine looks to inspire you into becoming a fellow turban cowgirl this season . . .
(Above, L to R): '70s British Vogue, '70s Paris Vogue featuring Dayle Haddon, '70s Harpers & Queen magazine.
Carmen Miranda (aka; The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat), flanked by head vases designed in her likeness c.1940s.
My (sneaky) photos from the 2007 Paul Poiret: King of Fashion exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum, showing examples of the magical designer's Orientalist inspirations. C'est manifique!
Socialites at an exotic-themed 1925 fun-raising soireé held in Manhattan's Plaza Hotel (photo by Edward Steichen).
Favorite Biba-model Ingrid Boulting (as the genie of all my fashion dreams) from British Vogue c.1970s, and a romantic 1920s rajah illustration.
Rudolph Valentino (ambassador of the turban as seductive style statement), seen on the left with Vilma Banky in the 1926 silent film, Son of the Sheik, (middle) on the cover of a posthumous fan magazine with his turban-obsessed costume designing wife, muse and manager, Natacha Rambova, and again in 1926 with Banky.
Faye Dunaway playing diva extraordinaire Joan Crawford in the 1981 cult film, Mommie Dearest (which i'm not ashamed to admit I can recite word for word), and the inimitable Greta Garbo, who's face was simply made for said chapeau.
Vintage pastel rainbow taffeta Don Anderson–New York turban c.1960s (currently $49.99 on eBay), chic fashion-weeker donning a cashmere coat, Jackie O's and vintage silk scarf turban (photo: Tommy Ton of Style), and vintage graphic psychedelic silk Lazarus turban hat c.late-1960s ($169.99 on eBay).
Yours truly in a favorite leopard fringed cashmere scarf (wrapping pretty things around my head sometimes cures writer's block), and a fringed John Frederics number c.1941 from the archives of the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute
Model Helen Bennett wearing a turban and dress by Balenciaga c.1938 (photo: Horst P. Horst), Elsa Schiaparelli in one of her own creations, and Loretta Young in a cashmere turban with silk flowers c.1940 (photo: John Rawlings, who is one of my all-time faves)
Gorgeous Murad Turkish cigarette advertisements c.1920s, inspired by Orientalist art (which there was a craze for, during the jazz age)
Amazing blues songstress Ethel Waters c.early-1930s, Lana Turner in the classic 1946 Film Noir The Postman Always Rings Twice, Rudolph Valentino wearing a turban designed by his wife Natacha, and Joan Crawford in an embroidered sweater/turban set, at a Hollywood malt shop c.1939
Striped silk faille turban topper from Saks Fifth Ave.'s Debutante Shop c.1930s (sold by nancybcat on eBay), model in a colorful and surreal parrot turban (how Prada is this?) c.1939 (photo: Toni Frissell), 1970s Yves Saint Laurent silk scarf chapeau ($225 on Etsy)
Purple velvet knotted turban c.1940s, Pola Negri vamping on the cover of Photoplay c.1920s, and a Dior–Paris for Saks velvet turban c.1960s (sold by 1860-1960 on eBay)
A still of exotic actor Sabu in the absolutely gorgeous 1947 Powell and Pressburger film, Black Narcissus (a must see based on the colors alone, not to mention the spooky story, stunning art direction and unforgettable performances).