Pop-up: Bhendy Bazaar
Western boots and shoes and the umbrella were the chief articles of modern dress that equipped women for the public sphere in 19th century Bombay. Accessories like purses, handbags and watches, that could have further facilitated their public role, gained widespread currency only in the 20th century.
Among the reasons that could account for the late introduction of the accessories was that the form of the sari as well as the stitched blouse worn with it could accommodate small necessities on the person of the wearer herself. Essentials were tucked between the gathered folds of the sari at the waist or within the bounded entity of the blouse, a practice that continues to date in India. Orpa Slapak notes that women of the Bene Isreali community tucked a pouch (tied with a lace) into the waist of the sari, ‘a kind of hidden pocket’ in which they stored money and other valuables.
Hashim Badani accessorised with his camera at Bombay’s Petticoat Lane.