Turban Renewal

Nov 11, 2010 - by Lester Brathwaite

The New York Times says turbans are back. I've been saying that for the past six years. Usually while in a towel turban with a face of cold cream, an axe in one hand, a martini in the other and murderous rage in my eyes. But I was still saying it.

[caption id="attachment_172516" align="aligncenter" width="425" caption="Faye Dunaway out for the kill in 'Mommie Dearest'"][/caption]

 

Miuccia Prada featured turbans (often sans pants) for her Spring 2007 collection and it was coincidentally the last show of hers that I truly loved.

That collection, and turbans in general, remind me so much of classic Hollywood, when glamor was written in giant lighted bulbs across the screen. Some of the greatest fashion moments have occurred on celluloid, and occurred before most of us were even born. Classic films perfected the art of costuming so that what a character wore was a direct extension of who they were. So a woman in a turban could symbolize power, wealth, glamor, intrigue or just plain old insanity.

Case in point, Gloria Swanson as tragic movie queen, Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard.

She was glamor. She was also crazy. Desmond kills her young gigolo played by William Holden, whom she met after mistaking him for the man who had come to bury her pet monkey. That kind of crazy.

A turban also gave the wearer an air of regal beauty.Lana Turner was absolutely stunning as Cora in The Postman Always Rings Twice, the gold digging femme fatale who plots to kill her husband when she falls for a drifter who recently came to town, played by John Garfield. Okay, there was a lot of crazy flying around back in the day.

Perennial fashion icon, Audrey Hepburn, in the quintessential fashion film, Breakfast at Tiffany's, dons a turban to sing the plaintive classic "Moon River." She's literally wearing a Hanes sweater and a towel as a turban, yet it's so effortlessly chic and simple. Fun fact, a Hanes sweater cost a whopping  three lizard eggs back in 1961 when this film came out.

The turban doesn't always have to be for dramatic effect, though it certainly works well as such. It's a fun accessory that can add a completely different dimension to an outfit, which was what Prada showed all those seasons ago. A shirt can be more than just a shirt. There are infinite possibilities to wear any number of articles of clothing, by adding and subtracting, building and deconstructing. It's what makes fashion resonate: the ability to transform.

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