She was once named as the “World’s ten most Beautiful Women”. In forties to the sixties, she was a glamorous fashion icon. She is Rajmata Gayatri Devi. The third Maharani of Jaipur from 1939 to 1970.
Rajmata Gayatri Devi was India’s style icon. Her style was flawless – chiffon sarees draped, pallu over her head and a string of pearls and emeralds. The renowned Indian designer Sabyasachi drew inspiration from her iconic style and created a special line of sarees for the launch of a coffee table book.
Sabyasachi says, “She has such an extraordinary aura about her. There’s a softness and approachability about her even though she’s a royal.”
Let us discover some moments of her life and find out the real Princess in her, while taking a cue from IndianWeddingSaree collection.
Her decisions: She always focused on education of girls and hence opened many schools for them. Even into her eighties, she was involved in the six schools she founded in Jaipur.
“In the evening of my life, all I can say is that I would not trade places with anyone. I hope I have been able to do something for India through the students who have been educated in the schools I founded.” —Rajmata Gayatri Devi “A Princess Remembers The Memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur.
Her choices: Gayatri Devi loved badminton, tennis and polo, and was an elegant and accomplished horse rider. She told of shooting her first panther when she was 12, and often accompanied her family members on tiger hunts, but later gave it up ‘out of sympathy for the animals.”
Her taste: She was very particular about every glance. She was particular about her Palace room decoration…a glance at her dining room will tell you about her taste…with its long Art Deco mirrored table.
“My home, the Lily Pool, is not like the palaces I once lived in. Many of the paintings, collections of jade and rose quartz and objects d’art, from my rooms at Rambagh, are now in the Lily Pool. It has a certain warmth and charm. I like it because it is so open, like living outdoors. I hate shut doors and do not mind that swallows dirty my lamp shades and chipmunks nibble the fringes of my curtains.” — Gayatri Devi, from ‘A Princess Remembers’ published by Rupa & Co New Delhi, 1995
In Rajmata’s 1995 biography, ‘A Princess Remembers’ it is written about the three etiquettes of a maharani her grandmother told her about. And one of them was to “never wear emeralds with a green saree as they look so much better with pink”. She was very particular about jewelry.
She had great natural style in sarees and jewelry, inherited from her mother. About a women’s beauty, she says, “Style comes naturally to me. I guess, you’re just born with it. My mother has been my role model and icon. When I was young, I watched her dress. Ma was very fussy about her clothes. Did you know, she was the first person to start wearing sarees made of chiffons. But her greatest passion was for shoes. She had hundreds of pairs. She always knew the best place to buy anything and she shopped all over the world. I guess, I learnt about style from her. She taught me all about style. Life was more glamorous in the olden days, a lot has changed now.” (as told to TOI)
Her favorite colors included turquoise, pink and citron. According to Sabyasachi, the Maharani’s preferred palette of ecru, ivory, old rose pink and Dutch blue. She preferred Indian embellishments on sarees like gota patti, zardozi and pearl embroidery.
Her styling was sophisticated, elegant with a feminine code. The blouses she wore generally had 10-inch sleeves, a popular style during her time with handmade buttons.
She once said, ‘’I’ve had a very happy life. I have no regrets. I’m not a nostalgic person. I live in the present. I just try to do what I can, when I see unhappiness around me. Why grumble about things that don’t go your way. Make the most of life. Don’t make me sound arrogant or extraordinary.’’ (as told to TOI)
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