Boudoir – The Court Dress of Iran

It’s been a long time since the last Boudoir, because, to be honest, I had many ideas but I didn’t have the mood to write. Today morning I was thinking a lot – I would like to write about court dresses, and later about various topics –, so I was wondering what kind of court gown should I write about. Finally I figured it out, though I am really not sure whether we can state that this is a court dress.

To start this Boudoir, I have to mention the political situation in Persia in the early 20th century. The ancient country had to face the modernisation, constitutional reforms, westernisation and – if this wouldn’t be already enough – a dynstay switching: Reza Pahlavi overthrown the Qajar dynasty and proclaimed himself as the new shah of the country. During his and his son, Mohammad Reza’s reign, Persia-Iran opened up to America and the Western culture. As for clothing, this meant that women were prohibited to wear the traditional islamic veils and Western style clothing was heavily „recommended”, while the men got a new court uniform, similar to the Japanese or the Ottoman one.

Farah Diba was the third wife of Mohammad Reza – she was a beautiful and clever lady. Unlike the previous two wives who had relatively short time as queen consorts, Farah Pahlavi was the Iranian royal consort for 20 years. She recognised the importance of traditional culture and art, and promoted them during her reign. This was represented through her wardrobe too. On formal occasions she wore a modernised Iranian style dress most of the time – who knows, maybe if the Pahlavi dynasty would have had more time as the ruling family, this could have been the official court dress of Iran. At the coronation in 1967, other members of the Imperial family and court ladies wore a similarly styled dress too – this is the first step in becoming a court dress, don’t you think? Moreover, the little Imperial Princesses often sported a “simplified” version of the look.
Family of the Shah. Notice the princesses' wear. Source:

The dress itself was simple and modern, yet elegant. Basically it was a long, A-line dress with thight or barely loose sleeves and usually square neckline. What gave the national touch and Persian traditions to it was the design: national and geometric patterns. The colours were vivid, yet magnificent – golden, silver, royal blue, etc., and the empress sometimes wore a little coat too. The girls’ version constituted a simple, monochrome skirt and a colourful blouse that resembled the adults’ gown.
The designer of the Empress’ wardrobe was Keyvan Khosrovani. At the famous coronation, the Empress wore a long, dark green robe with silver embroidery – the patterns of her robe were the same as the ones on the sleeves of her maids of honour. The dresses showed the world the richness and antiquity of Iran, and at the same time, they symbolized a modern and developing era under the Pahlavi dynasty.

by Alla


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