I’m not sure whats going on here… but everyone looks happy.
This photograph is from one of many fashion editorials set in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil; the gentlemen wearing turbans are dressed as members of a popular afoxé called Filhos de Gandhy, or “Sons of Gandhi”:
Afoxé…is basically candomblé with the religion taken out…the use of candomblé rhythms and “songs” in social, non-religious settings like Carnival and weekly dances…
Embaixada Africana (African Embassy) was the first afoxé, parading in the Carnival of 1895. The next year afoxé Pândego da África (African Hijinks) went out, and in 1905 an afoxé climbed the Ladeira da Barroquinha to parade up the Ladeira de São Bento, thereby breaking a tacit understanding that the Carnival groups from the lower (and darker) economic classes had their areas (Baixa dos Sapateiros, Barroquinha, Pelourinho) and the upper classes had theirs (Avenida Sete de Setembro, Piedade). Salvador’s largest and most widely known afoxé — Filhos de Gandhy — was formed in 1949 by a stevedore whose inspiration was the great Indian leader and pacifist (who had been assassinated the year before). Other afoxés include Filhos de Korin Efan, Badauê, and Filhas de Oxum. From 1904 until 1918 afoxés were forbidden to march during Carnival, ostensibly to combat “crime, ao deboche, e à desordem (crime, debauchery, and disorder)”.
On their uniform:
A Carnival bloco needs fantasias — costumes — and several of the men there under the tree had recently seen a film which made it to sleepy Salvador ten years after its 1939 release: Gunga Din, starring Cary Grant and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. It was an easy choice; the fantasias would emulate the clothing of Rudyard Kipling’s redoubtably intrepid waterboy…
Tho’ I’ve belted you an’ flayed you
By the livin’ Gawd that made you
You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!
But there was a problem. Shipping in the Port of Salvador had fallen off since the war and work was intermittent. On top of that the Federal Government — a dicatatorship — had announced post-war cost cuts and the stevedores’ income had taken a hit; money was tight. To the rescue came the working girls of the area — the ladies of Julião. Not only did they include (some, not all of) these men among their patrons, but they also included them as their friends. A number of the sheets utilized in the abadás (a name given to the flowing fantasias, based on the robes worn by the uprising slaves of Bahia’s 1835 Malê [Muslim] Rebellion) worn that first year were provided on loan by these women, and when the men paraded, the women followed, food and refreshments in hand…