Fashion

Whose Sari Now?

As glamazon Indian princesses, as modern-day warrior queens riding our metal steeds through cities of mortar, as beautiful creatures…

Intro by Citizen Brookyln Story by Miranda Southwell - Ladyinwaitingblog@gmail.com Photos by Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Sari & Sari Blouse- Didis Wardrobe
Headdress, Necklace, Nose ring- Earrings plaza
Bangles-Butala Emporium/Stylist and model’s own

Strolling the Colaba Causeway (the 5th Avenue equivalent in Mumbai) in India, interspersed within the stream of shoppers, we noticed a dazzling parade of men wearing women’s clothes. We found it curious that instead of cross dressing in western wear, these men chose the high drag of traditional gorgeous saris. After seeing this particular display of colorful, exotic glamour, we returned to NYC inspired to create our own transgendered sari shoot. But of course, being the CBK eco fashionistas that we are, we used second hand saris.

Who’s sari now, indeed.

Photo © Icarus Blake

Sari- Borrowed
Tikka Bindi- Butala Emporium
Necklace-Topshop
Arm cuff- Earrings Plaza
Bangles & Earings- Stylist and models own

When I was approached by CBK to do the sari photo shoot, my first thought was, “Wow, what a terrific opportunity!” When I was asked to write an accompanying article, however, my frenetic Virgo mind traipsed back to that initial statement and analyzed it. Opportunity for what though… Modeling antique saris? Blinging myself out in high-glam, Bollywood style? Being shot by a world-class photographer? An ecstatic yes to all three. More than that though, I thought about the serendipitous connection between this unusual request and the heart-wrenching death of an Indian woman only one month ago. I thought about how her womanhood was ransacked and tragically ripped apart. I thought about my own hard-won womanhood as a transgender woman… About how little we tend to appreciate the power in our womanhood that is so often used against us regardless of where we come from. The power of choice. The choice to express ourselves in whatever ways we see fit… As glamazon Indian princesses, as modern-day warrior queens riding our metal steeds through cities of mortar, as beautiful creatures (whether we were born that way or not) deserving of respect. Each golden bangle, each richly-hued sari, each sparkling bauble represents, to me, the beauty of that choice. That’s the beauty of fashion… That’s the beauty of a woman.

Photo © Icarus Blake

Sari – Didis Wardrobe
Sari Blouse- Borrowed
Headdress & Necklace-Topshop
Earrings- Stylist own
Bangles- Butala Emporium/Stylist and models own

Photo © Icarus Blake

Sari & Sari Blouse- Didis Wardrobe
Necklace, Earring set & Head piece & Tikka bindi – Earrings Plaza
Bangles- Stylist own

Photographer: Icarus Blake
Stylist: Caroline Mauro
Make-up and Hair: Crystal Soveroski
Model: Miranda Southwell

14 Responses to “Whose Sari Now?”

  1. Liz Cherry says:

    Oh Miranda, you are just fabulous! Love this article, love the pictures, love YOU!

  2. Wendy Kaplan says:

    Love the style and elegance you visually create in this piece and your insight and commentary into the recent tragedy of a beautiful young woman on a bus in India.

    • Miranda says:

      Thanks Wendy! It was a truly lovely collaboration between a very talented crew of people and I was so fortunate to be part of it and do my part, however small, in recalling the memory of that beautiful young woman.

  3. Ruby Lynn Willis says:

    Miranda,

    You bring beauty and a brutal truth to light and you do it with as Wendy wrote, “…style and elegance.”

    You also make me laugh and laughter brings its own beauty. Can you say, “Iron Chef Secret Ingredient: Anna Brings Apples
    ~*~
    “Modeling antique saris? Blinging myself out in high-glam, Bollywood style? Being shot by a world-class photographer? An ecstatic yes to all three.”
    More than that though, I thought about the serendipitous connection between this unusual request and the heart-wrenching death of an Indian woman only one month ago. I thought about how her womanhood was ransacked and tragically ripped apart. I thought about my own hard-won womanhood as a transgender woman…

    • Miranda says:

      Thanks Ruby! I love that line… “brutal truth” tempered with “style and elegance.” You and Wendy flatter me so! I really wanted to dedicate every bauble and bindi I wore to that young lady and make it a pan-cultural testament… not only to divine fashions but also to the divine feminine. I think all the God/Goddess imagery really complimented that idea quite well!

  4. Nancy Davis-Kessler says:

    Ah yes, Modelling Miranda…now I have officially and fully read this article. As you said, social issues first and foremost. You did just that. I don’t know you all that long, but damn I’m a proud new friend!

    • Miranda says:

      Thanks Nancy! I’m proud to have your friendship also ^_^ So glad the article resonated with you and you enjoyed all the pictures. It was a wonderful collaboration that I’m very blessed to have been a part of.

  5. Ami says:

    This was very well written! I’m glad I finally was able to read it. I am proud to know you as a friend as long as I have. This was just amazing and so are you!

  6. Kylie says:

    GREAT article, beautiful photos. The thing I thought of when reading your article, was how as a society of women we judge other women, we belittle them, we don’t stand by our sisters enough. There is enough against us and we should use that very power you speak of to empower our sisters. To stand beside each other, to push each other forward, to catch each other, to be a unity of beauty in all it’s forms. XXX

    • Miranda says:

      Thanks Kylie! I agree wholeheartedly. We need to stand by one another irrespective of our differences and not waste time breaking each other down or casting judgement. Life’s far too short to be negative and disregard all the social advancements women of all creeds and colors have achieved throughout history. <3

  7. nerdgirl says:

    You look fabulous in those saris! I always wished I could wear saris because they look so ultra-feminine and beautiful, I think I would always feel like a princess in one. So envious of Indian girls because I always thought a white girl would look weird in it. You look perfect though!

    Also, small nitpick: it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that Indian cross-dressers in Mumbai would choose to wear saris instead of western women’s wear. That’s just a little bit of cultural hegemony there. 😉

  8. Orientalism? says:

    I also found it offensive that you thought it was weird the LGBT community in India would wear saris, and went so far as to call saris “exotic”. They are only exotic to white people. There is a whole other world out there where dresses and skirts haven’t colonized the national fashion sense. Which is why Indian men dress in drag by wearing saris – because it’s STANDARD WOMEN’S WEAR in India. Nobody in India thinks the sari is exotic. Jeez.