Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 27, Tuesday July 8 , 2008



Check It Out

Labyrinth of Abstract

THE work Andaleeb Preema produced in Chiang Mai are being showcased by La Gallery, Alliance Françoise de Dacca from the 3 July 2008 through 16 July 2008. A month long residency program at "Compeung Art Village" had opened new horizons for her with an opportunity for exploring local Thai tradition and material to give new dimension.

The environment had had such an impact that she completed a number of paintings and a wall mural on her core subject- "Staring Women."

Preema believes art has no conformity,, rather it deals with possibilities. She doesn't want to be the so called 'Prisoner of Art.'. For her painting is a feeble, unsuccessful activity with limitless possibilities to go beyond and rise further.

Photo: Zahidul I Khan


Dhaka jottings- notes from the fashion scene

“And why not?

“In last one decade, Bangladesh has taken giant leaps as far as the fashion scene is concerned. The mass has come to terms to their individual taste and style, which in turn contributed to the boon of boutique culture. We now witness a strong, local clientele.

“Before we venture into the international arena we must first generate fashion awareness amongst the keen local consumers. To achieve this common goal, ideas for fashion and style must come on a common platform and pave way for novel, creative concepts: haute couture or prêt-à-porter.”

That was Kawshiki Nasser, the wits behind drafting Dhaka Fashion Week 2008 deep within the industry, on her brainchild.

Despite the relentless effort of the organisers, the event has already encountered an unprecedented set back. The show, originally scheduled for 2 July 2008 has been pushed to 6 July through July 10, 2008. The new venue for the fashion extravaganza is the Lamda Hall of Gulshan Club and the Dhaka Club lounge. Nevertheless, event managers and designers alike are optimistic about the outcome of the show. “Dhaka is all set for the week long extravaganza as it can cater for the fashion needs of the sensitive local consumers as well as the international palate,” says Shahnaz Hamza of Virgo fame. The coming event has already generated much hype amongst enthusiasts; time will reveal if artistic exuberance matches the anticipation.

People have familiarised themselves with the concept of prêt-à-porter, but high fashion is somewhat alien, even to most fashion conscious individuals. Runways are conceived as 'entertainment' rather than the stage for creative exuberance. A clothe is just a clothe unless worn but shattering conventional norm couturiers often engage in endeavours solely for the sake of art, the ramp emerging as a unique medium of interaction.

"I have arranged my queue of the show in three stages," says Maheen Khan, "the first five pieces will involve heirloom textile, Dhaka jamdani and traditional suits, and this will project influences in fashion from the Mughal period. Next, there will be three dimensional couture representing architecture and folds. The motif leans towards Arabic with geometrical patterns, fused with contemporary cuts. The final five pieces will be saris, a retrospective of what the future might hold for this timeless garb.”

The comprehensible Mughal influence is befitting for a show that pays homage to the four hundred year old city. The inspiration is evident in the clothes by Shahnaz Hamza. Her flowing 'anarkolis' teamed with churidar and long wide dupatta seems like a moment frozen in time. With a detail work of zardozi to embellish the grandeur in cutting styles, they truly are a manifestation of Dhaka's by gone era.

In a striking contrast, Humaera Khan of Anokhi presents ready to wear collection inspired from the tranquil blue of the ocean, the brilliant hues of flora and the terrains of mother earth. A sleeveless, turquoise blue kamiz captures the tranquility of the colour with intricate work of zardozi in sparkling silver. A tie and dyed dupatta in subtle hues of red and green completes the attire. The numerous kolka motif spread around the neckline stands out a seeming reflection of full moon splendour. This diva prefers to set the trend than to tread on it. Her apparent bias for indigenous motifs and material is clear, as is her knack for timeless classics.

With many designers of today having the tendency to import ideas and motifs from foreign lots, a gap exists through which local ideas are falling through and consequently getting lost in the surge of internationalism. Original and bespoke, Bangal tries to fill the void, that too with an underlying message. "We want the young generation to be able to better understand what it means to be a Bangladeshi, and to become aware of how important the 1971 War was for us," says Bappi, the creative mind behind Bangal. "Our culture is so diverse when it comes to fashion, and not many are really aware of it. We could actually make use of this Fashion Week to reach out."

Bangal will also be displaying a range of fatua and panjabi with folk motifs on endi, cotton and loom. It also offers a teasing concept of having a newspaper run on cotton t-shirts, in contrast to mundane newsprint!

And then there is the ethereal sari. The timeless gets re-born with every design, every creative effort and every individual who pulls it off! Muslin too is having a revival and naturally, this being a tribute to Dhaka and its legacies. Paera, a conglomerate of ideas between Nawshin Khair and Bizly Hoque, has come up with the quintessential sari in rough, green shade, mystified with rose motifs, incorporating intricate work of hand stitched embroidery, stirred from the architecture of Dhaka.

As a sneak preview into the event, the organisers and designers has assured a five nights of gala experience. We present only the tip of the iceberg. What remains below the deep waters, shall unfold in due course. As a nation we have already proven that we can 'sew'. We are making ready to wear garments for names that rock New York, Milan or Paris. We have accomplished designers, skilled labour and a heritage to look upon for inspiration. Fashion connoisseurs the world over are thirsty for anything remotely Indian. There is no reason why the Bangladeshi flavour should fail to catch attention.

By Shahmuddin Ahmed Siddiky and Mannan Mashhur Zarif
Photo Courtesy: Mayasir

For the love of food

Belated Birthday Story

Kaniska Chakraborty

MY wife's birthday is in April. Just about the time when summer sets in and lets you know in no uncertain terms who the boss is. Air conditioning gets cranked up. Fans start whirring at full speed. Soft drink manufacturers get excited. Mangoes start appearing in the market, albeit in the green form.

All in all, a weather not conducive to eat outs. And let's not forget, the early part of summer can get very humid as well.

So, when the aforesaid birthday rolled in (we shall not get into the realms of “which”eth and how many candles, etc.) I took on the unenviable task of selecting a restaurant which will not only serve good grub, but should not keep us waiting outside, should not be astronomical economically and most importantly, should have air conditioning working at prime. Establishments in Calcutta have this wonderful habit of letting customers into the world of non-functioning air conditioners. After all, summer is when the poor machines work the hardest, so most likely to malfunction as well. But who's listening. All repairs and servicing of these happen during winter. Let me not go into an orbit about this problem.

No surprises that my choices were limited to the hotels, purely because even if they make you wait, you'll not be sweating it out on the footpath. And once you get in, the food is usually good.

But we have done all the hotels to speak of. What new can we do? That is when it struck me. There is a new coffee shop at one of the non five star hotels that has recently been renovated and boasts world cuisine. I still do not know what that would entail. I mean, how can so many cultures and ingredients be captured in one restaurant and be named world cuisine? Guess it is an art to be experienced.

Customary reservation call was made. This hotel and all its restaurants were uncharted territory for us. Reservation was happily done and a corner table booked for us by the poolside, no less!

Arrived exactly on time and was heartened to see a re-done façade of the erstwhile shabby hotel. The lobby was warmly lit, well decorated and very comfortable temperature wise. Clear directions told us which way to go. And at the entrance of the restaurant, a very friendly maitre'd greeted us.

And at that moment, fear of unknown gripped us. We are so used to the sights and sounds of other restaurants that we frequent! What if this turns out to be a disaster?

At that very vulnerable moment of our lives, there came a stroke of genius from the maitre'd. He offered us a tour of the buffet.

There it was. The bread rolls dusted with white flour, the butter curls floating in chilled water, the customary mozzarella and cheddar, the olives steeped in oil and brine, the cold cuts studded with bits of pepper, the fresh green salad bar with luscious dressings, the pizza counter with a collection of fresh herbs for topping, the live pasta station… I could go on forever. And i have not yet mentioned the dessert section. Brimming with fresh fruits, inviting bowls of mousse, brilliantly decorated slices of cakes, you name it, and they had it.

Needless to say, we cast aside all fear and dug into it.

Of course we have had better meals. Of course the bread selection could have been better. Of course the mozzarella could have been little fresher. But we could not fault the service, the friendliness, and the slightly singed pizzas baked in wood fired ovens.

And most importantly, my wife was happy with her birthday treat!



home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2008 The Daily Star