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Monday, October 27, 2008


During her filming of "Danger: Diabolik!" in 1967, Marisa Mell was invited to New York to audition for the role of Mata Hari in the musical with the same name which was going to open in New York, Broadway in the following year. When she got the part, as mentioned in another blog entry, the producers found it a good idea that Marisa Mell should appear in several magazines in the States to make her name a house hold name. So she appeared in McCall's Magazine but also as a fashion model in the November 1967 issue of Vogue, the number one fashion magazine in the world. What is so special about this picture is the fact that this photo brings together the middle-east and the west in one person. Marisa Mell has done her hair in a typical 60's hair-style like almost all the fashion models of that time but her dress is not at all western, it is a classical middle-eastern dress called "Jellabiya". The Jellabiya or in Arabic: الجلابية , pronounced Gellabiya in Egypt, is a traditional arab garment native to the Gulf region worn by women as a casual dress or as evening wear depending on the amount of work, complication of design beadwork as in this dress worn by Marisa Mell. The Jellabiya dates back to early days of civilization in the Arabic countries of the Gulf. Jellabiyas are also created for men; however, these include a minimal amount of design and are usually just striped or plain in a variety of colors. You have three kinds of Jellabiya: a) the casual Jellabiya: This is often a casual garment using a minimal amount of textiles and design; b) the evening Jellabiya: several different mediums are used to create these Jellabiyas. They include, beadwork, embroidery, different stich patterns as well as various textiles such as silk, lace and even wool and c) the wedding Jellabiya: Jellabiyas worn by the bride at weddings are much like evening Jellabiyas; however, they usually are quite excessive. Unfortunately her role in Mata Hara was a short one and she never got to Broadway, just some try outs in Washington DC. This faillure was very hard for her to swallow and took some time to get over with.
An Egyptian peasant women sitting on the banks of the river Nile in the 1890's looking at the Temple of Philae during sun set wearing a traditional black Jellabiya.

1 comment:

Keith said...

What a great picture. I've always found this to be a wonderful piece of fashion. I love how this picture appeared in Western magazines with her in fashion from the East. It's a beautiful picture of her.