History's Treasure Trove
India Today|September 21, 2020
History's Treasure Trove
From the undiscovered travelling trunks of a princess to the catwalks of couture, bespoke, limited-edition sarees are the new rage.
PRIYA KUMARI RANA

This Princess of Jodhpur’s trousseau packed quite the punch. Upon her 1949 wedding to the scion of one of the most redoubtable royal houses in India, Maharaja Fatehsinghrao Gaekwad II of Baroda, Maharajkumari Rajendrakumari Baisa of Marwar (Jodhpur), rechristened Maharani Padmavatiraje Gaekwad of Baroda, brought her entire menagerie with her—pooches, parrots, and countless trunks packed with yards of precious fabric. “I’ve inherited some of the chiffons she brought in her trousseau,” says the present Maharani of Baroda, Radhikaraje Gaekwad. Radhikaraje is married to the present Maharaja Samarjitsinh Gaekwad, the nephew of late Maharaja Fatehsinghrao Gaekwad. From embroidered French chiffons, to reams and reams of Taffeta and satin, yardage lay unopened in trunks, and out of sight.

Travelling Trunks

“Maharani Padmavatiraje’s trousseau is legendary both in proportion and quality. She brought so much that even after 70 years, we still have these exquisite fabrics stored in their original trunks, in pristine condition, many with their tags intact,” explains Radhikaraje. Fabrics like these, made specially for royalty, had retired into oblivion until now, when enterprising descendants, designers, textile artisans, and revivalists have discovered the richness of these forgotten weaves, and are making them available for discerning collectors who understand the value of timeless fashion.

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September 21, 2020