International Vintage: Egypt 1920s-1940s

Flashback Summer:  International Vintage- Egypt 1920s-1940s
Movie poster for the movie "Berlanti" (1944)
Today I have the first "International Vintage" post for you guys!  I especially want to highlight the countries I've lived in, Egypt and Sudan, so I'm starting with Egypt today.

Egypt was controlled by the British until the 1950s, so it was influenced by the West, though mostly in metropolitan areas where foreigners tended (tend) to live.  Early on, Egypt took hold of film-making technology and made it its own.  Even today, Egypt is one of the strongest influences on Middle Eastern and Arabic-language media, especially movies.

The 1930s-1950s are considered the "Golden Age" of Egyptian cinema.  Music has always played an important role in the Egyptian culture, and this was reflected in the fact that during this period, 50% of the films produced were musicals.

Personally, I love seeing old Egyptian films with the mix of traditional clothing and Western-influenced wear.  They had victory rolls, wiggle dresses and lipstick like westerners, then other characters wore traditional abayas and hijab (modest dresses and the veil).  It's also great to watch the videos of old movies and hear them speak Arabic.  I miss that.  I miss Egypt and its beautiful people! 

Egypt also inspired plenty of Western fashions, especially in the early 1910s to 1920s when westerners were fascinated with exotic places and intrigued by the discovery of King Tut's tomb in 1922.  Ancient Egyptian motifs adorned clothing and inspired movies such as Theda Bara's "Cleopatra."

Now that you've got the info, check out the eye candy!

"Al Azema" (1939) starring Hekmet Fahmy, a dancer, actress and WWII spy

And more of the same movie.... Great outfits!

Here are some pictures of western-styled singers, actresses, and dancers from Egyptian cinema's "Golden Age"
Flashback Summer:  International Vintage- Egypt 1920s-1940s
Hind Rostom (Talk about bombshell!!!) and Farid Al-Atrash in movie singing "Ya Mgabbel Youm el Leila".  Hind is known as the Marilyn Monroe of Egypt, and for good reason!  She's got the build of Marilyn, with the addition of belly dancing skills!
Flashback Summer:  International Vintage- Egypt 1920s-1940s
Amina Rizk
Flashback Summer:  International Vintage- Egypt 1920s-1940s
Oum Kalsoum, an extremely famous singer.  It is common to hear people still listening to her songs today, and every Egyptian (and most of the Middle East) knows who she was!
Flashback Summer:  International Vintage- Egypt 1920s-1940s
Leila Mourad, a Lebanese singer often starring in Egyptian movies
Flashback Summer:  International Vintage- Egypt 1920s-1940s
Faten Hamama, an actress (isn't she GORGEOUS?!)
Flashback Summer:  International Vintage- Egypt 1920s-1940s
Movie poster for "Yahya El Hob" (1938)
Flashback Summer:  International Vintage- Egypt 1920s-1940s
Samia Gamal (dancer)

Although upper-class and urban Egyptians tended to adopt Western clothing, during this time (and to this day!), many Egyptians still wear traditional clothing influenced by Middle Eastern and Islamic culture.  In a later post, I'll highlight the traditional clothing worn in this time period and how it's still worn today.

What do you guys think of the Egyptian-Western style?  Have you ever looked at other countries' vintage style?


  1. I'm absolutely smitten with this series of posts, and cannot wait to see what other countries you have in store for us. I love looking to other cultures during the decades I adore most for inspiration, too. Whether Italy (when my husband was born and raised), the far east, the UK, France, Australia, America, or just about anywhere else, it's impossible not to gain something from learning more about other parts of the world during the mid-20th century.

    Stellar post, dear gal - thank you for increasing my knowledge about Egyptian culture and some of its famous stars and starlets.

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Your husband is Italian?! Wow, way to live the North American girl's dream, haha! That's awesome!

      I'm glad you like the series; I hope you'll enjoy the ones I have planned, too!

  2. I love these images you've posted. I'm looking for inspiration for costuming for a retro Egyptian dance show my troupe plans to put on next year. And these images are a great help. We're setting the show in the late 1940s/early 1950s. We'll be doing period cabaret pieces in Act 1 (e.g. Kharamana in homage to Samia Gamal in Little Devil) and folkloric dance in Act 2 (using choreographies by Mahmoud Reda and Farida Fahey). It's going to be great fun!

  3. I loved this Emileigh, I'm an Egyptian with a high interest in fashion, textiles and jewelry history.

    I want to tell you that Laila Mourad is an Egyptian Singer not Lebanese, She is one of my favorite Egyptian singers.

    According to your Fashion choices, I admire Faten Hamama's simple, sophisticated but never underdressed style.

    Also the Egyptian handcrafted emberiodery played an important part of the dancers fashion.