Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 60, Tuesday October 10, 2006



Style Files

Style savvy

The earliest weaves displayed some form of checks. These were developed using vertical warp and horizontal weft yarns on the loom. Most old civilizations created their own fabrics in some form or other and the discovery of natural dyes further propelled structured designs in checks with the use of coloured yarns. Stripes and checks are the basic design on woven fabrics. More complex supplementary designs were integrated into them with further investigation. But the charm of simple checks has survived the test of time. In fact the popularity of checks is found in home accessories, which together with stripes and floral motifs are used the world over in furnishings even today. But every so many years fashion returns with a surprising interest in checks. Subtle or bold, graphic or engineered checks take a new scale in fashion.

This summer checks, plaids, hounds tooth, tartans are all being presented as smart fashion surfaces to be shown and seen. Combined with solids, stripes or oriental fantasy, checks this season are transformed to take a completely new dimension. Haute couture styles are welcoming this pattern with much enthusiasm. Checks and stripes define understated elegance. Squared these motifs reign on the ramps. The styles that go well with these are understated and minimalist. The geometric prints can be hip and young with an edge that can shout confidence. Checks can look sleek but it can also take a very formal appearance. I would think with the right balance this sharp form can exude simplicity and finesse with equal ease.

In Bangladesh we have valued and admired our very own woven gamcha (scarf) and lungi (wrap). These are woven using checks as fundamental elements of design. The checks vary in size and composition. But the nice thing about these checks is that they always remain refreshingly modern. Today, global trends demand sharp yet sophisticated styles, and geometric forms are being used on cotton, silk, crepes, georgettes, satins, and even on knits. If you are watching forecasts you will see that the simplicity and finesse of checks fits nicely on any shape or style. Oriental inspired suits or our very own scarves, short a-line or long trailed skirts, little bolero or long sherwanis, a blouse or an accessory, checks work on a wide range of offerings. It is timeless as a fashion surface and works extremely well on saris. Woven saris could very easily claim some of the most complex patterns. But today prints are the rage. Engineered as the most dramatic piece of art these designs are further encrusted with rhinestone, swarovski, metal, spangles and beading. Addition of such embellishments mirrors a South Asian sensibility, which together with vibrant forceful designs have never been explored before like today. These saris have a flare of effortless sensuality and yet reflects a vintage appeal which is classic.

Checks are strong and bold I would suggest using it sparingly on your ensemble. An overdose of checks can leave you with a heavy feeling. It only works with other pieces that can offer space for your eyes to rest. If you wear checks all at the same time then you will surely look like a court jester. Small checks are easier to manipulate but as the checks grow larger do be careful how you wear them. Finally if you are not the girl who will try a brand new image to fuel your fashion sense then safely wear checks on your belts, hair bands, or totes. It will get you noticed and articulate your checked out soul.

By the way

Condition Away

Unless you have very fine, limp hair, get into the habit of applying a deep conditioning treatment to your hair once a week. Deep conditioners are not the same as daily use ones, and homemade preparations work really well. Coconut oil is especially good for hair conditioning. Brush your hair, wash it lightly, and then towel dry. Apply your deep conditioner and wrap your head in a heated towel to open the hair cuticles allowing the conditioner to soak in. Leave for 10 minutes to half an hour. Then rinse thoroughly in warm water to remove the conditioner residue that remains, then cool water to close the hair cuticle. Rinsing your hair in cool water can be a little uncomfortable, but it can do amazing things for the appearance of your hair. It closes the hair cuticle close to the shaft, which increases shine and manageability, and helps to keep hair strong. A mixture of cool water and lemon juice is even better for shine and strength (a half of a teaspoon of lemon juice in two quarts of cool water is sufficient).


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