Origin of the Sarong

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The sarong was the dress of the seafaring peoples of the Malay Peninsula near Sumatra and Java; according to Git-tinger, it was subsequently introduced on the island of Madura and along the north coast of Java. In the late nineteenth century, an observer recorded its absence in the Java interior. Early sea traders in these waters were Moslems from India, and Islam spread from the coastal areas, so it is thought that these early sarongs may have been woven plaids, which were associated with Moslem men.

What makes the cloth produced for sarongs unique is the decorative panel (kepala, head) that contrasts with the rest of the fabric (badan, body), seen at the front when lapped over and secured. In a plaid, this panel may vary in color and/or weave.

One of the earliest panel configurations in batik sarongs of the north coast of Java and Madura is two rows of triangles (tumpal) whose points face each other.

Traders brought chintzes from the Coromandel Coast of eastern India whose ends were rows of triangles. When sewn together, this created what is now the kepala, and eventually the two bands of triangles were positioned as a set at the end of the pre-sewn batik sarong. The tumpal motif is found on gold thread songkets of Sumatra and triangle end borders are seen in ikats, perhaps an influence from Indian chintzes.

In the clothing traditions of Java and adjacent western Indonesian islands, the sarong is an alternative to the kain (cloth wrapper). North coast batik sarongs are noted for their floral bouquet kepala and exuberant colors. At the turn of the twentieth century, Eurasian batik makers experimented with new chemical dyes and motifs, and the thigh-length jacket blouse (kebaya) worn with the sarong was shortened to hip length to better show off the kepala panel. The sarong is not as long as the kain panjang (long, cloth wrapper) batiks of court traditions of Yogyakarta and Surakarta in central Java. The kain panjang batiks are of an overall pattern, without a kepala panel; they are usually made with subdued colors such as browns, indigos, creams, and whites. When wrapped about the lower body, the end might be fan-folded in tight pleats, or with a loose drape.

The sarong varies in size and material. In all of Indonesia's twenty-six provinces, there are representative forms of ethnic dress in which sarongs, worn with a sleeved upper garment, figure prominently. In southern Sulawesi the Buginese silk sarong is extra wide. In Maluku sarongs are layered, the first one is long, and the second one is folded and worn at the hips, often revealing a tumpal motif. In Rote, the handwoven warp ikat sarong is narrow and tall; it is about twenty-five inches in circumference and would almost conceal the wearer's head. Here, the sarong is secured at the breasts and the excess folded over, and secured again at the waist with a belt. Another ikat (not a sarong) would be draped over the woman's shoulders. Generally speaking, the overall silhouette was tubular.

International Appropriation of Sarong The sarong as appropriated by Hollywood bears little resemblance to the original. Hedy Lamarr in White Cargo (1942) and Dorothy Lamour in Road to Bali (1952) both wear wrappers (more like pareos), tied at the side in a way that emphasizes, rather than concealing, the curve of the hips. We know that what the actresses are wearing is a "sarong," because in Road to Bali Bob Hope specifically refers to Lamour's wrapper by that term. The draped, lapped frontal portion creates a diagonal line revealing the actress's entire leg. Both protagonists wear form-fitting tops baring midriff and shoulder, bangles, heavy necklaces and earrings. Lamarr and Lamour are seated in languorous poses to show off even more skin. The sarong here is a presentation of exotic femininity that is meant to titillate the western film audience. While White Cargo is set in Africa and Road to Bali is set in Indonesia on an unnamed island near Bali, the specifics of place and culture are immaterial. Tondelayo (Lamarr) and the Princess (Lamour) are not "natives," but rather a nebulous mixture of the Western and the "other." They conform to western ideals of beauty and allure, while the "ethnic" dress they wear is a fabrication of Hollywood costume designers, unrelated to anything attested in the anthropological record. What is depicted is the "East" as orientalized by the West.

According to Jones and Leshkowich, "Oriental" elements of clothing and decorative arts became part of the Western retail lifestyles markets in the 1990s at a time when Asian economic prowess was on the rise. The fashionable sarong as interpreted by Western fashion designers followed Hollywood's imagined version of the sarong as a knee- or thigh-length wrapper, tied at the side. Indonesian fashion designers, participating in self-orientalizing, also offered these Western-interpreted sarongs to cosmopolitan Indonesian women. Clearly, for these designers the sarong now referred to two kinds of dress, one local and one global, where the global one was an orientalizing of the local.

See also Asia, Southeastern Islands and the Pacific: History of Dress; Ikat; Kain-kebaya.


Achjadi, Judi. Pakaian Daerah Wanita Indonesia [Indonesian Women's Costumes]. Jakarta, Indonesia: Djambatan, 1976. Djumena, Nian S. Batik dan Mitra [Batik and its Kind]. Jakarta,

Indonesia: Djambatan, 1990. Elliot, Inger McCabe. Batik: Fabled Cloth of Java. New York:

Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., 1984. Gittinger, Mattiebelle. Splendid Symbols: Textiles and Tradition in Indonesia. Washington, D.C.: The Textile Museum, 1979. Jones, Carla, and Ann Marie Leshkowich. "Introduction: Globalization of Asian Dress." In Re-Orienting Fashion: The Globalization of Asian Dress. Edited by Sandra Niessen, Ann Marie Leshkowich, and Carla Jones. Oxford: Berg Press, 2003.

Taylor, Jean G. "Costume and Gender in Colonial Java." In Outward Appearances: Dressing State and Society in Indonesia, edited by Henk Schulte Nordholt. Leiden: KITLV Press, 1997.

Heidi Boehlke

SATEEN. See Weave, Satin.

SAVILE ROW Savile Row is a typical central London street of fairly modest eighteenth- and nineteenth-century brick town houses mixed with late twentieth-century developments. It stretches from Vigo Street in the south to Conduit Street in the north, running parallel with Regent and New Bond Streets. Sitting at the heart of the city's West End luxury shopping district, the Row is particularly famous as the center of the British bespoke tailoring trade.

The Row traces its beginnings back to the late seventeenth century when Richard Boyle, the first Earl of Burlington, acquired a mansion on nearby Piccadilly (now Burlington House, home of the Royal Academy). Burlington protected the privacy of his estate by buying up the surrounding land, which was eventually developed by his descendant, the enlightened third Earl from the 1730s on. Savile Row was one of the resulting streets of genteel residences, which were generally rented by members of the nobility and affluent professionals who formed part of the new fashionable trend for living "in town" during the social season. The aristocratic atmosphere of the Row was an important component of its rise as a center of style. Its residents required expensive and well-made goods that befitted their rank, and thus attracted the attention of manufacturers and traders in luxury commodities. The high proportion of top-rank military and medical men living in the district also ensured that the provision of smart uniforms and civilian suits were prominent in this commercial expansion.

By the early nineteenth century, the Row had become synonymous with the London-based dandy craze, popularized by personalities such as Beau Brummel, and several ambitious tailors were establishing their reputations in nearby streets. Henry Creed and Meyer & Mortimer for example, were based in Conduit Street, with a rapidly expanding customer-base, thanks to the demand for uniforms initiated by the Napoleonic Wars. The first major incursion of tailoring into Savile Row itself was made by Henry Poole in the late 1840s. A few smaller tailors had opened workshops there in the 1820s, but Poole's were of a different order. They enjoyed the custom of high-profile clients, including royalty, statesmen, sporting stars, and literary and theatrical celebrities, and put unprecedented effort into the design of their showrooms and marketing ventures. Arguably it was Poole who established the international fame of the Row as a "Mecca" for men's fashion (though like most tailors he also fitted women with riding outfits and "tailor-mades").

Through the remainder of the Victorian age and into the twentieth-century, Savile Row shifted its character from that of a residential enclave to a thriving street of tailoring concerns. Distancing themselves from the sweated trades that were providing the mass-manufactured suits of the modern office worker, the tailors of the Row prided themselves on their mastery of traditional handcrafts, the quality of their textiles, and their attention to the individualized needs of their customers. Savile Row firms also came to be associated with a particularly English "look": restrained, narrow shouldered with a long waist; though each company pioneered a subtly differentiated version of the Savile Row staple. Huntsman, for example, was known for their heavy tweed sporting jackets while Gieves provided a sleek naval cut. By the mid-twentieth century, tailors such as Davies, Kilgour, and Anderson & Sheppard pioneered a more glamorous version of Savile Row style through their fitting-out of fashion leaders such as the

Duke of Windsor and Hollywood stars including Cary Grant and Fred Astaire. This greater attention to "fashion" was also marked by the presence of couturier Hardy Amies in the street from 1945. The Row had adapted following the decline of the British Empire from its role as Imperial outfitter to a new incarnation as the epitome of urbane sophistication.

The final decades of the twentieth century saw further flowerings of talent on Savile Row. Echoing the explosion of boutique culture on Carnaby Street and the King's Road in the 1960s, Tommy Nutter and Rupert Lycett Green of Blades introduced the Row to styles that were well suited to the culture of Swinging London, a phenomenon brought to the heart of the Row by the arrival of the Beatles's management company, Apple, at number 3 in 1968. And in the 1990s and 2000s, the association of the Row with "cool" was reinforced once more by the innovations of a new generation of tailor/retailers, including Ozwald Boateng, Richard James, and Spencer Hart who attracted a younger, less hide-bound clientele to their bright and airy emporia. Thus, it can be seen that Savile Row has been highly adaptable to the vagaries of styles in clothing and social trends, maintaining its reputation for traditional manufacturing methods while subtly embracing the challenges of novelty. It is still the premier street in the world for male fashion aficionados.

See also Boutique; Dandyism; London Fashion; Tailoring. BIBLIOGRAPHY

Breward, Christopher. The Hidden Consumer: Masculinities, Fashion and City Life 1860-1914. Manchester, U.K.: Manchester University Press, 1999.

-. Fashioning London: Clothing and the Modern Metropolis.

New York: Berg Publishers, 2004.

Chenoune, Farid. A History of Men's Fashion. Paris: Flammarion, 1992.

Walker, Richard. The Savile Row: An Illustrated History. New

York: Rizzoli, 1989.

Christopher Breward

SCARF Scarves have been an enduring fashion accessory for hundreds of years, ranging from humble bandannas to luxurious silks. Worn by women around the neck or as a head cover, scarves protect modesty or promote attention. Using basic shapes of cloth, typically triangular, square, or rectangular, scarves lend themselves to a wide variety of ornamentation. Scarves are commonly printed, but the techniques of weaving, batik, painting, and embroidery are also used to create scarf designs. While the scarf's popularity has fluctuated throughout its history, in certain decades of the twentieth century scarves were essential fashion items, glamorized by dancers, movie stars, socialites, fashion illustrators, and photographers. Scarves accentuate an outfit, provide cov ering for the neck or head, and serve as a canvas for decorative patterns and designers' names.

In eighteenth-century Western fashions, bodices were cut revealingly low, requiring a piece of cloth, known as a fichu, to cover a woman's chest. Worn around the neck and crossed or tied at the bosom, fichus were either triangular or square in shape. Fichus were often made of white cotton or linen finely embroidered in whitework; others were of colored silks with rich embroidery. This style of scarf continued into the early nineteenth century, but as fashions shifted, chests were covered by bodices and large shawls predominated as accessories.

The scarf as a modern fashion accessory was defined in the early decades of the twentieth century. Flowing lengths of silk worn draped about the body had been made fashionable, in part, by dancers such as Isadora Duncan. That Duncan's death was caused by a long scarf wound around her neck becoming caught in the wheels of a Bugatti is one of the scarf's morbid associations. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the scarf was incorporated into the sleek, elongated fashions of these decades. As seen in numerous fashion illustrations and photographs of this period, the scarf served as both a sensuous wrap and a geometric design element.

In the course of the twentieth century, the scarf's viability as a blank canvas on which to present elaborate designs, advertising, humorous motifs, and artists' creations was used to advantage. The idea of printing scarves and handkerchiefs to commemorate heroes, political events, inventions, and other occasions began in the late eighteenth century and was popular throughout the nineteenth century. This use continued into the twentieth century, with scarves commemorating world's fairs, political campaigns, cities, tourist attractions, and numerous other themes. Fashion designers employed the signed scarf as a means to accessorize their clothing and promote their names. As licensing became an established part of the fashion industry, designers names on scarves became a lucrative sideline.

Various well-known firms and designers have contributed to producing chic and collectible scarves. Herm├Ęs began printing silk scarves with horse motifs in 1937; in the 1940s, the English textile firm of Ascher commissioned artists Henry Moore, Jean Cocteau, and others to create designs for scarves; during the heyday of scarf wearing in the 1950s, Americans Brooke Cadwallader and Vera and Tammis Keefe set the tone for decorative scarves with whimsical and playful motifs; and 1960s fashions were often accentuated with scarves by Emilio Pucci, Rudi Gernreich, and other designers of the period. While the wearing of scarves has diminished with the twenty-first century, the scarf remains a versatile accessory, its connotations ranging from the chic to the matronly depending on the scarf and the wearer's aplomb.

See also Gernreich, Ruci; Pucci, Emilio.


Baseman, Andrew. The Scarf. New York: Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 1989.

Mackrell, Alice. Shawls, Stoles and Scarves. London: B. T. Bats-ford, Ltd., 1986.

Donna Ghelerter

SCARIFICATION Scarification, also known as cicatrisation, is a permanent body modification that transforms the texture and appearance of the surface of the skin (dermis). Although scarification operates as a controlled injury, it is not the result of an accident or health-related surgery. Branding, cutting, and some tattoo practices are types of scarification. In the practice of scarification the dermis and epidermis of the skin are cut, burned (see Branding), scratched, removed, or chemically altered according to the desired designs, symbols, or patterns. The result is a wound, which when healed creates raised scars or keloids that are formed on the skin's surface from increased amounts of collagen. Persons with darker skin tones have typically chosen scarification designs, because scars and keloids are more visible than tattoos.

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