The Turban

The turban may have always seemed like a tropical and theatrically outlandish statement of bygone glamour and frippery: at home on Greta Garbo in The Temptress maybe – or pulled off by Bianca Jagger-like party girls in the 1970s, or by voluptuous ‘40s beauties in staged pin-up beach shots – but not so much an accessory to, say, walking the dog on a Sunday afternoon. Things have changed though and turbans seem to have finally hit the streets with a 21st century makeover, albeit four years after Miucca Prada spearheaded the comeback with her satin, jewel-colored versions.

The turban, whose English name derives from the tulip flower, may just be the longest-running, most reinvented form of head-wear, first recorded in the 14th century by the Moors in Spain. Flash forward 700 years of global guises and renaissance to Spring 2011’s reprise of the trend and Spanish designer Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada’s garish and knotted, Marge Simpson style numbers, which were teamed with neon swimsuits and balloon dresses. Meanwhile veteran US stylist June Ambrose, who says she was “tying turbans on Busta Rhymes ten years ago,” wore one every day during New York Fashion Week and has even designed a range of her own.

While the turban has its naysayers who dismiss it as “costume,” it has once again made its way into the hearts and onto the heads of the style-conscious public with more and more girls embracing their exotic sides and even exchanging wrap and tie tips online (nothing says “hitting the mainstream” like a Youtube tutorial) for help with the channeling of “golden age Hollywood” rather than the “post-shower” look. And with the great Coco Chanel a turban enthusiast in her day, you are in good company.