Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 68, Tuesday, December 05, 2006



Shop Special

Trousseau trip

Picking out the wedding sari and going in a group to buy it with mothers, aunts, sisters, young and married, grandmothers and girl friends, shooing and sighing, gossiping and giggling all the way, has always been a huge part of the fun of getting married. Although the best sari is for the bride herself, every other person must also be dressed in style. In answer to this Dhaka has over the years built up its interesting lot of sari shops and shopping streets that offer the best of all worlds, the colour, glitz and glam and also the scariest price tags and myriad opportunities to bargain your way through them.

One of the oldest and best loved of all wedding sari places is the Benarasi Palli in Mirpur where the saris are designed, woven by hand by local weavers and embroidered and beaded for effect. There are saris and saris any which way you look for miles it seems as you walk down the street there and salesmen standing outside the stores try to cajole and coax you into coming to their shops with your little entourage. One of the oldest names in the business is Mohammadi Silk House and they have over seven different types of wedding saris to offer which have interesting names and special characteristics to inspire the buyer. Brocades are priced between Tk2000-3000, Satin Jangla between 5000-6000, saris with Amboss work, Tk-4000-5000 and Phulkoli between Tk-7000-9000. Tissue saris cost between Tk-4500-6500, Korakataan Tk-7000-8000 and Neemjori katan Tk-4500-5000. The saris come in various colours ranging from maroon, red, blue, violet, pink, magenta, rust, etc. These saris are specially woven for brides and have unique designs. There is something for everyone whatever your taste- heavy work, lots of gold or simply a little dash of design here and there with beads. The salespeople are friendly and talk to you with genuine intent to help you out. One such salesman was kind enough to inform us that a lot of hard work goes into the making of the saris. A minimum of 11-15 saris are made from one weave and each sari takes about 15 days to finish, 7 for weaving and 7 for embroidering and embellishing.

Besides wedding saris, they have a whole range of other pieces to offer in silk and other materials including a range without borders or 'pars' which has become a favourite to many. Benarasi Palli has always been one of the best local sources of locally made and handcrafted saris, the name in wedding apparel but now they are being forced to sell imported products on the side to keep their business from failing. The foreign made products are not always better in terms of quality and often have heftier price tags but sadly these don't seem to do much to diminish their appeal.

If we look deeper, we would see that perhaps it is the balance between the local and imported that has been recently broken but the pull towards imported saris is hardly new. Khan Brothers, who have their saris made by artisans in Delhi, Mumbai, Benaras and Kolkata have been in business since 1952 and are still one of the hot favourites for wedding saris. They have their first and most frequented branch in New Market but now they are really all over town- in Rapa Plaza, Prince Plaza in Dhanmondi and also in Molly Capita Center in Gulshan (above Mayasir). All the saris they have are handcrafted and not machine made so each is like a work of art in net, crepes, chiffons and silks. All the saris come with matching dupattas which you may or may not buy with them. Prices range between Tk-15000-35000. The most wanted colours are similar everywhere. There are the reds and maroons like always but also the feroza, pink and rust that are now all the flair. There is even a demand of contrasting red and white. Bigger stones are also in demand and saris now have special stone work in anchals, khuchis and borders.

The service is impeccable at Khan Brothers and the jovial salespeople know as you walk in and from your first words exactly what you may be looking for and do everything to find it for you! What sets their saris apart is that they are 'pure', 100% hand crafted, have unique designs that are well worth the buy even at slightly higher prices. Because of their convenient locations and warm service they are one of the best loved stores in town and always calmly giving new names tough competition.

If you are adventurous, venture out to the new names in the business that have much to learn from their predecessors, most of whom import their products from abroad and often have no say in the designing of what they sell. But if all else fails there will always be the more time tested names in the game to fall back on, old favourites like Shalimar and Gulshan in New Market and Sari Plaza in Gausia where more friendly service, reasonable price tags and exciting varieties await you. Eastern Plaza also has a large number of stores where one might get wedding saris. If you want to break with tradition and go for something totally exotic, go with Jamdanis which also make a great choice for holuder saris.

In the end, saris are saris anywhere you go and there are only so many designs and colours and motifs to choose from. It's not so much the saris you pick but the experience as well, so pick wisely and make a memory, a story you can tell your children and grandchildren for years and years after. Happy shopping!

By Diya
Photo: Munem Wasif

Check it out

Bridal Asia 2007

It's that time of the year when the city, and indeed, the Subcontinent itself comes alive in a fanfare of festivity as the wedding season kicks in. Weddings have become big business, with the sky being the limit when it comes to splurging on the big event. Taking the wedding business seriously is young entrepreneur Divya Gurwara- the visionary behind Bridal Asia, and this pitches itself as the wedding fest spanning the Asian market. What started off as a hobby a decade ago has metamorphosed today into a mind-boggling business proposition. Moving beyond mere apparels, Bridal Asia 2007 will offer segments like jewellery, accessories, even chocolates and other niche gifts.

Leading names from the Indian fashion design industry will showcase their creations at the event adding to the plethora of Bridal Asia over the years', Rina Dhaka from Delhi, Kiran Uttam Ghosh, Anamika Khanna , Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Shantanu Goenka from Kolkata. Hemant Trivedi, Rocky S, Bhairavi Jaikishan, Payal Singhal from Mumbai and Suhani Pittie & Vinita Pittie from Hyderabad, to name a few.

As a line up to the start of the exhibition on January 13th, Bridal Asia 2007 will hold two fashion displays on January 10th & 11th, with many leading models from India and Pakistan sharing the ramp. The authenticated branding and selective choice of design, exclusive quality control and the fact that it simplifies the monumental task of trousseau shopping has ensured the tremendous popularity that the Event has come to garner over the years.

In quality and range, Bridal Asia continues to be a one-of-a-kind wedding and trousseau fashion extravaganza. So if you're planning to tie the knot in 2007, you definitely want to check them out!

Fashion Show : 10th and 11th January 2007
Exhibition : 13th to 15th January 2007, Hotel Ashok, New Delhi

For further information , please contact : info@bridalasia.com
-LS Desk

On the cover

Gracing the cover this week is a bridal look from 1967.Trace the evolution of bridal fashion in our special story on the Centre

Photo: Munem Wasif, Model: Marjina
Make-up: Farzana Shakil
Hair and Beauty:
Special thanks to Ms. Rosie Rashid for lending us her wedding album to replicate the bridal look of the sixties and of course her thirty-nine year old lovely wedding sari.


Winter is the party season over here, with schools closing, and Christmas and Eid colliding with weddings, bonfire parties and New Year's Eve. That makes it the season to get your glam on. No doubt, you'll be adding some sparkle to your threads by bringing out your jewellery. To keep those trinkets looking their twinkling best, we've got some cleaning rules for you.

Make an appointment
Fine jewellery should be cleaned every three months. If you aren't able to get the jewellery to a jeweller, it's not very difficult do the needful at home. At least once a year, however, allow a professional to clean them.

With this ring…
Clean a gold wedding band by dipping an old toothbrush in water, then squeeze on a bit of white toothpaste (regular paste, not gel). Scrub the entire surface of the ring, inside the band and out. Rinse with tap water and dry with a soft cloth.

Dirty diamonds…
…should be cleaned a little differently. The band can be cleaned and polished with toothpaste, but check to see if the diamond is loose first. Clean the actual diamond (or sapphires, rubies and other precious stones) by scrubbing with a toothbrush using one part lemon ammonia to 10 parts water. Rinse well and dry with a soft cloth.

Maintain the chain
You can use the lemon ammonia solution to clean gold chains as well. Scrub thoroughly on all sides using the trusty old toothbrush and dry gently with a soft cloth. Never sleep with a gold chain on, as this can cause tangles and even breakage.

A cut apart
Clean porous stones like jade, onyx and emerald using a solution of baby shampoo and water. Scrub gently with a toothbrush, to avoid dislodging the stones. You can use the toothpaste method for the metal setting if the gem is set in gold, but follow that up by cleaning the stone with shampoo and water. Again, rinse well and dry with a soft cloth.

By Sabrina F Ahmad



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