09 August 2011

SO Sophia Loren IKAT


 There is a reason fashion interests me-for instance this:

VOGUE  November 1966,
Sofia Loren in fur lined sable- Russian crown sable- Ikat robes-  photographed by AVEDON. 

Posing in made to order Maxmillian robes of 14th century Tatary IKAT- the colors according to the text were meant for  the highest ranks of the culture of the period.  The simplicity of these robes is indicative of the style worn then and the sables would have been less luxury and more necessity.


 Map of Tartary, 1705
published by the Amsterdam burgomaster Nicolaes Witsen

Tartary or Great Tartary (Latin: Tataria or Tataria Magna) was a name used by Europeans from the Middle Ages until the twentieth century to designate a great tract of northern and central Asia stretching from the Caspian Sea and the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean inhabited by Turkic and Mongol peoples of the Mongol Empire who were generically referred to as "Tartars", i.e. Tatars. It incorporated the current areas of Siberia, Turkestan (including East Turkestan), Greater Mongolia, Manchuria, and sometimes Tibet.

"Upon their cloaked heads there now seemed to rest tall, uncertainly coloured mitres, strangely suggestive of those on certain nameless figures chiselled by a forgotten sculptor along the living cliffs of a high, forbidden mountain in Tartary...", "Through the Gates of the Silver Key," H. P. Lovecraft

"amidst the wilds of Tartary and Russia, although he still evaded me, I have ever followed in his track."-Mary Shelley', Frankenstein,

So? Well needless to say our trends (something akin to saying we get bored quickly) are just that. Ikats-like the dhurries, the suzanis, the toiles, the animal prints, the botanical prints,  the quilts, the washed linens. All fit into a culture or a history  that makes sense- one that consumers take little time to understand, respect or assess. In a world of trends-all that seems a bit meaningless. The push to redo our interiors constantly indicates boredom, and limitation and a false sense of our own good taste. If we love something- it should last longer than a few seasons of magazines and blog declarations. Don't pick an Ikat-if you can't live with it & love it for a lifetime-and at the moment throw away decoration is more a lack of world economics than the usual lack of knowing self  or just keeping up with the Jones.



  1. Yes, to your last statement. I love these pictures.

    I'm always taken aback when people say, "Oh here's the latest thing" & have no idea (or perhaps they don't care) about the history. Because rarely is it "new." Perhaps it's the historian in me but it cheese me off no end.


  2. Wow. These images of Sophia are simply gorgeous...


  3. My stars. Look at her.
    Yes, there is nothing new under the sun.

  4. really good piece. loved it.

  5. Really love the photos. They're uplifting to see amid the non-stop turmoil. Curtis

  6. Sophia and Ikat! How can you go wrong! Love this. Also loved the quote from Lovecraft, the use of words in that sentence:nameless forgotten, forbidden. And there is Tartary! I love the costume of the Tartars, with similar forms worn by the Boyars.
    Enjoyed your insight on items considered trends "...All fit into a culture or a history."

    Delicious and insightful post, Gaye,

  7. Thank you! I am in complete agreement. Trendy rooms soon become dated and boring and are essentially disrespectful of the integrity of the person that inhabits the room. Mary

  8. Fabulousness...and history. A perfect combination.

    Loved the post and just discovered yr blog. Lovely!


  9. I second the last paragraph! Lush Sofia Loren, by the way. Thank you for posting, as usual:)

  10. Totally agree of course - as I'm sure you knew. I'm not much of one for our throw away culture. Love Loren and the coats - how very chic that the sable is on the inside!! You and I were on the same track this week.

  11. Throw-away and trendy fashion has little intrigue for me, and I even rue the necessities of white t's and such, things that hold little meaning and will eventually have to go the way of the trash bin.
    But, my old pieces... coats and shoes I've had 20 years, my vintage pieces, ethnic bits accumulated on travels, and yes, my Ikat coats that I wear to lounge about the house, are always a delight. We share stories and memories. Must be why my favourites seems to be worn to threads, eventually.
    My biggest regret in fashion, whether it be clothing or home, is the lack of respect "not keeping up with the Jones' " ignites. I could appear in public in some unsuitable trendy get-up, re-do my home to mimic the latest magazine cover, and be better viewed than if I show up in my beloved sartorial gems and live in my ramshackle personalized abode.

  12. I love Sophia Loren and ikat! What an awesome combination.

    I also very much agree with your last paragraph. Timelessness is key, which takes a certain amount of commitment. I love looking at interiors that have been designed decades ago and still capture us.



  13. All I can add is this piece in Vogue had me scouring for more images of SL. Some beautiful ones taken of her and her boys in one Vogue I remember looking at when I was growing up.



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