Vol. 5 Num 1023 Wed. April 18, 2007  

Nurturing traditions
Aglow in shades of Baishakh

The Bengali New Year found Dhakaites adorned with the glowing colours of the season. Though these items are not expensive they are irresistible with their bursts of red, orange and white. To cater to them boutiques brought out many relevant shades in clothes. Also another attraction is 'Rangeen Utshob', which marks 25 years of the use of natural dyes in our country. Boutiques that use these colours have organised the month-long festival.

"Rangeen Utshob has been organised by the National Crafts Council of Bangladesh,"said Ruby Ghuznavi, founder of Aranya (one of the participating boutiques) "to celebrate 25 years of the revival of natural dyes in our country. This welcomed Baishak with the traditional red and white, mustard and well as vivid blues."

In Aranya, samples from 14 other organisations are on display. Primarily the presentation included saris. There were also some shalwar-kameez and western clothes. The saris are in silk, jamdani, kantha stitch, endi silk and khadi.

Use of colours is innovative. Cotton and silk are combined in a new blend.

"In the shalwar-kameez range I've stuck to classics. In the saris we've worked on the paar (borders) and aanchal and kept the bodies plain. The paars are with multi blocks. I have not used sequins or beads, as it is not typically Bangladeshi. The saris features shades like red and white, obtained from tree bark and manjit, the golden shade is taken from onion skin, while the blue had been done with indigo" said Ruby.

K Kraft had a gorgeous collection of the Baishakhi colours, plus maroon, black and white. Panjabis had embroidery in gold thread on the front, collar and cuffs. Saris had floral motifs, beads, sequins and tassels in red, maroon and white combinations.

Nogordola, another boutique, maintained the traditional off white and red of Pahela Baishakh. "We've used light colours keeping the occasion and summer in mind. The panjabis have red and gray stripes while the T-shirts are in red and off white," said Sharmeen Lucky, Nogordola's spokesperson. The saris are in endi silk, cotton block, Tangail and Dhakai cotton with screen and block print.

Chandra Shekhar Shaha, designer of Nogordola says, "If one is inspired by paintings, which is the case of Nogordola (inspired by Qumrul Hassan's works), the results can be satisfactory. We chose Qumrul Hassan as he was the first artist to establish a design centre in Bangladesh for BSCIC (Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation). We elaborated the artist's brush strokes, from these we reconstructed motifs."

The city looked bright and cheerful with people dressed in the new creations of the boutiques.

Saris feature vegetable dye (Right) and block prints