Thursday, May 14, 2015

Wrapped Up in Glamour: 1940's Turbans

From wartime chic to Hollywood glamour, the turban was an essential part of a woman's wardrobe during the 1940's. What could be more simple: a length of fabric wrapped around the head and manipulated into pure sophistication.

During World War II, women entered the workforce taking manual jobs in the factories and on the farms. Turbans became a necessity to cover and protect the hair. Making your own turban was encouraged by the government as rationing heralded a new norm. There was a wealth of knitting, crocheting, and sewing patterns available for the resourceful woman of the 1940's.

Promoting wartime chic: photograph by the British Ministry of Information

Circa 1940's knitted turban

Reproduction of a 1940's knitted turban pattern
from Vintage Visage Patterns on eBay

But, leave it to Hollywood to demonstrate the glamour of the turban! When costume designer Irene came up with the idea of a turban for Hedy Lamarr's exotic and aloof character in the 1938 film "Algiers", they became all the rage. There is something mysterious and just a little dangerous about a woman in a turban. Who can forget the iconic image of Lana Turner dressed in a simple white turban in "The Postman Always Rings Twice" (1946).

Hedy Lamarr in "Lady of the Tropics" (1939)
Photo courtesy

Lucille Ball
Photo courtesy

Joan Crawford decorates her turban with jewels.
Photo courtesy

Gene Marshall
Monolithic Studios' star Miss Gene Marshall wears a green knit turban wrapped in dramatic fashion with the black satin dress from Integrity's "It's a Cinch". The neckline bow was removed and the belt from Sandra Stillwell's "Cover Girl" ensemble was added. Necklace and gloves are from Ashton Drake, and the leopard handbag is from Fashion Boulevard. Turban, bracelet and earrings are from The Couture Touch.

The inspiration for Miss Marshall's fabulous turban: Simplicity 1318 (1945).
Photo courtesy

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