Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 55, Tuesday September 5, 2006



Style Files

Fashion victim
Are you one? Do you check the out the ramp pictures on the latest fashion glossy? I would think many of us take pleasure in doing just that every season. But if you are using a magnifying glass then I am convinced you are just a tad bit serious. Then taking it a few steps further will probably define you as a true fashionista. You wear only the fashion colours of the season, buy or make by picking up the styles only from the latest shows. You make it very clear to your audience frill so frill it is, ruched so it is, oversized collars, short pleated skirts, short narrow ankle salwers, all that and more you will wear as long as it lasts in the season. You wouldn't be caught dead in anything else. You live to make statements and in doing so you foster a fashion challenge which brings excitement to your life.

A fashionista will be influenced to believe that white is the new fuchsia or indigo, the new colour of the season. Perhaps in the glamour or glitzy world which she inhabits this could be a new thing but in reality as novel as it may be for her, this in fact is a fairly common hue for the ordinary folk out there.

Especially here in Bangladesh white outfits or saris are a staple. I for one will not argue with her, for she feels better in white simply by thinking she is in the cutting edge of fashion.

A victim of fashion does not realize that fashion comes back in circles but over time the technique, technology and tailoring is improved. Ideas I am afraid are recycled. Pedal pushers or knickers buckers are back as capris, 'big wide collars' earlier are now referred to as metro sexual. Things come back in fashion, like empire cuts, bell-bottoms, pencil skirts, short kaftans. This cycle will never be over. Or may be she does understand but makes a decision to look at it in a completely new light. She or he needs to move on, change and embrace new looks just because the fashion gurus have touted them as the in thing.

The phenomenon of following fashion blindly is not a rare trend. It's been around for as long as fashion has existed. Do you wear halters even though it isn't flattering to your sagging butterfly arms? Do you wear a belt around your waist simply because your idol on the ramp is wearing one? You may have forgotten to check that your 36" waistline doesn't desire a belt. Do you wear a short stringy sari blouses and ignore your love handles which are creating an impression on the viewer? Do you squeeze into a corset even if it kills you? If all these are true then you are someone who is obsessed with fashion.

You are under the notion that for your status you must be seen with the latest thing, regardless of whether it suits you or not. You can also become very easily a compulsive shopper. You can continue to buy beyond your means latest fashion items to please others whose perception is more important than your own. You have stepped into the fashion planet where you are clearly the prey. This can happen to anyone or everyone with slight fashion inclinations.

We all like to look smart and trendsetting. Your style should reflect your lifestyle, unless of course you have a multiple personality. Generally your collection should be updated with new pieces, which can weave well into your current wardrobe. You should dress to flatter your figure and your personality. You should re-evaluate your choice with trends that go with you, ignore and discard the rest.

Letter To The Editor

“The Light from Venus”

Some of my childhood memories came as a flashback in my mind while I was reading Iffat Nawaz's “The Light from Venus” published on August 29,2006.

I grew up in an old part of Dhaka, and I remember when there used to be a load shedding (which was very rare) we used to go to the roof taking a chatai and a pillow to lie down watching the sky, the stars and the moon. My dad used to tell us different types of stories during this time. We used to pray for electricity failures so we could have these rare moments with our parents.

We still have our house there but hardly see any stars or the moon in the small portion of the sky we get to see because our house is now surrounded by the multi-storeyed building.

Now I live in Shantinagar and here too I am jam-packed with skyscrapers. When I got pregnant, first thing my husband thought was to make a green place for my unborn child. We are lucky enough to have our own roof, and he transformed it into a rooftop garden. It became a beautiful green place for us.

Every afternoon I take my daughter to the roof under the small portion of the blue sky to our small green space so that she can at least see a fresh environment (small though) with her little curious eyes. Colourful butterflies give her company there.

Rifat Parveen
Shantinagar, Dhaka.

By the way

Even though autumn (or “fall”) is generally not a separate season in our country, but rather a blend of summer and winter, the colours in the fashion world strictly follow the four season trend, and one should start bringing out those reds and yellows and oranges, because wearing white in the rain, or black in the sun really does NOT seem to be a good idea.

Under a different sky

By Iffat Nawaz

I don't dream that way

Last week today, I was living in a dream. Not my dream, I don't dream that way. Or I should say I don't dream that way anymore? Maybe I use to, when I was much younger and when life and its categories were a lot simpler.

It all started with a phone call. Monday afternoon, I got a phone call from a Casting agency, a renowned one at that. The woman on the line asked for “Iffat Nawaz” and then smiled and said, “Did I say that right?” She told me she had seen my profile somewhere. She got it from some ex-drama club or college fashion show concentrated with Asians. She told me she wanted me to come in and audition for a role in a film by Wes Anderson. She told me the film is called “Darjeeling Limited” and that they are currently looking for a South Asian female whose name is Rita. If I would be interested they would want me to come and audition. When? The next day she said at 3:00 p.m. I was totally silent on my side. I didn't know what to do. I wasn't sure who Rita was, or is, or will be, but I knew Wes Anderson or I should say his work. He made a few of my favourite corky movies in the last few years, “The Royal Tenenbaums” being one of the best. So without thinking twice I said yes. Yes I know I am no actress and that I am just another brown face among millions here, but I got a call and I took it as an opportunity, not one to become an actress but one to experience something different for a day.

So she sent me the script and asked me if I would be available for going to Darjeeling for the shoot between December and February if I got the part. I said yes to all her questions and after we hung up I left a few frantically happy voice messages to my closest people. I couldn't believe the opportunity that came knocking on my door. I knew I wouldn't get the part since I had never had an ambition for being an actress, to shine in the silver screen. So for me it was just a play of fun pretence, a great story.

I received the audition script. The role of Rita plays against the role of Jack, being played by Owen Wilson. All the possibilities made me shiver. I wasn't nervous because this wasn't serious, but I was beyond excited. So excited was I that I couldn't keep my eyes open. I was able to practice my lines before I went to sleep a few times. I had a coach- my best friend (with no prior acting experience, but just a delightful, insightful heart) who volunteered to coach me all the way. It made us break out in mad laughter every few minutes and jump around in joy.

The next day I woke up and got dressed to look trendy yet professional, cool yet serious. I wanted to be unique but also common. The day went fast and it was 3:00 p.m. I arrived early, and I saw my competition. A girl who was 6 feet tall and was more a blond than a black haired beauty and another with short hair, and a fake British accent looking very modern and artsy. None of us looked alike- we were all so different, and it was apparent that the filmmakers didn't know what Rita looked like. They were searching the South Asian community to find the right girl, but who could it be? I guess they would know when they saw her. That's what first made me feel nervous.

The fact that they had no certain criteria besides three words -“intelligent, articulate and attractive” made me think it could really be anyone. They didn't want any prior acting experience, just willingness to sit in front of a camera and act out the script at your hopeful best. Six- feet tall brown Blondie and artsy Brit girl and I sat on a sofa. There were many more like us sitting there and many more to come later. We each looked at our scripts and tried our best to avoid eye contact.

Then it was time for me, and I went in, met the casting director, read my lines. I was not sure how I did, not even sure how much of it really mattered to me. It wasn't my dream, I told myself. So all of this is an experience. Remember that you are not an actress and neither do you want to be one, just be happy you got to do this for fun!

I walked out after the audition feeling empty, like I left something unfinished or left something behind. The possibilities that had gathered inside me were now all gone one by one. Even though I knew I didn't have a chance, there was still that tiny hope. And now it was over. And this will remain as my piece of Hollywood, the closest I ever came to something I never dreamt of or wanted.

Nothing changed inside me. I am not a failure, or wiser, or a winner and neither has it changed my goal in life. I just feel a bit shaken up; a bit empty, dreaming of what could have been, even if it wasn't ever my dreamz


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