|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 37, Tuesday September 23, 2008|
Stepping out of the rain and into the bright lights of Etc's Fashion Exclusives on Friday last, the first thing one saw was a sign announcing "Deepak Perwani" right next to a colourful display of formals and party wear. This then, was the newest jewel in Fashion Exclusives' glittering collection.
A closer inspection revealed stylish kurtas and sherwanis in rich fabrics like velvet and satin, and brocade, amongst others. Bright colours and bold embellishments pretty much gave a lie to the antiquated belief in 'safe' colours for men. On another wing of the display were shalwar kamiz sets for parties, as well as bridal wear. Eye-catching jewel tones, ornate embroidery, and flawless finishing, each outfit was an exercise in tasteful indulgence. All that was left was to meet the man behind the clothes.
Right on cue, the doors swung open, and there he was, tall, rugged, and commanding attention as he charged forward in long strides. At first glance, he looked more like a dashing filmstar (and Perwani does have acting experience from his small screen stint on the serial Mere Pass Pass) than a designer. As one gets to know more about him, it becomes clear that breaking the mold is typical of the man.
It was 1994, and after 6 years in New York, including a year at FIT, where he was studying merchandising, a bored Deepak found himself back in Pakistan, seeking an outlet for all his creative energy. For want of something to do, he started designing shirts, and the effort snowballed in a way that at the age of 20, Deepak Perwani started his clothing line, which changed the face of men's wear in Pakistan, and started his trail-blazing career. Breaking conventions, pushing barriers, he soon earned himself a reputation for being the 'bad boy' of men's fashion.
As he became more confident in his work, he added women's western wear to his repertoire, and even started getting requests for traditional wear, from loyal clients who fell in love with his sleek, simple and edgy silhouettes. This led him to launch his women's wear line in 1996, with the opening of his flagship store in Zamzama.
Since then, he's been growing from strength to strength, thrice bagging the prestigious Lux Style Award for men's wear and once the Indus Style Guru Award, and representing the fashion scene of his country at various local and international events. He's been the brand ambassador for the World Gold Council and later for Dupont Lycra, and collaborated with names like Mercedes Benz, Benson & Hedges, and Hugo Boss perfume to name a few. He's been Pakistan's Cultural Ambassador to China and Malaysia, was also chosen on the board of governors of Pakistan Fashion Council, which signed a memorandum of understanding with the Fashion Design Council of India, the first understanding of its kind between India and Pakistan's bilateral trade. He is also a member of South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA).
If all that wasn't enough, he's even on the Guinness Book of World Records for creating the world's largest kurta, a marvel of design, made of 800 yards of cotton blend fabric, weighing 800 kg, and large enough to be worn by a 175-foot tall person. As quoted in the Wikipedia, Perwani stated "The kurta is an intrinsic symbol of Pakistani attire, and (this garment) has successfully put it on the global map. A kurta represents the essence of what we are and defines our individuality in today's world."
Currently, Perwani does 4 lines a year prêt and couture for both men and women. A non-conformist, he draws inspiration from everything around him. "It depends on where I've traveled this month, or what I've seen..." This season, he's bringing two lines to Etc's Fashion Exclusives; a party wear line, and a bridal fashion line. While red, black and white are his favourite colours to work with, and feature prominently in his clothes, this season, he's working with a lot of green, particularly in the shalwar kamiz sets. When asked to describe how his work, or how Pakistani attire differs from that worn elsewhere in the Subcontinent, he answers that the focus is more on the texture and the pattern of the outfit rather than the cut. "My cuts are very basic and simple. My clients want to feel the sensuous fabric against their skin, however, and you will find that these outfits have a silk lining inside." Intricate patterns and embellishments play up the bright, bold colours. All this doesn't come cheap, however; the prices of the outfits start from as high as Tk 44,000, but as Perwani points out, it's money well spent. "My clothes are very versatile. You can wear them as shalwar kamiz, or churidar-kurti sets, or pair the kamiz with jeans for a casual look, or even skip the pantaloons and wear them as dresses."
This season, if you really want to strut your stuff in regal style, head over to Etc's Fashion Exclusives and give this dashing designer a try.
By Sabrina F Ahmad
Fashion Exclusives- the ultimate shopping destination
With contemporary retail presentation, open walkways, chic displays and vibrant lighting, Etc Fashion Exclusives brings a new dimension to the shopping experience. The store's layout, decor and merchandise selections have been designed especially to meet the shopping needs of Dhakaites.
Throughout the store, shoppers will find brands never before distributed in Dhaka including Ritu Kumar, Krishna Mehta, Satyapaul, Rohit Bal, Biba, Sonali's, Henna's , and Orly for apparels; popular Bangladeshi brands can also be found. For Etc Fashion Exclusives, the aim has always been to offer choice, excellent value and quality.
A special jewellery section by JAGIRDAR is also on display. Their white and yellow gold jewellery is 18 Karat certified, hallmarked to international standards, and exclusively designed by their in house designers.
Produced to the most stringent European standard, every creation is unique and comes with a lifetime guarantee of workmanship and materials.
Our parents, from early days of our childhood, teach us the principles of life; culture, tradition, the way of truth, giving for us an overall meaning of being human. Parents sometimes get upset to see their wards in distress, failing to understand that it is only through effort and sacrifice that children learn to be adults.
A keen interest in religion can be instilled within children, provided one starts young. They need to be taught by example, but even then, this is a bumpy ride, but one filled with interesting developments. Let's talk about initiating the young to the ritual of fasting.
For some, an incentive is needed to lure the young into fasting. Shihab, a nine-year-old says, “Fasting does not allow me to have KFC fried chicken. But ma said if I fast, I'll get one chicken fry after every iftar. That is why I'm fasting.” For others, Ramadan has a mystical aura, as colourful as a young imagination can paint it. "I used to look forward to sehri, because I had fantasize about some great feast spread out for me to sample," recalls Farina, 22. "Only when I started fasting regularly did I realise it was just another meal."
Radia, an eight-year-old gives a different picture, “I fast because that is what Allah said. Last year I was fasting and I drank by mistake, because I was thirsty and Dadi said it is okay because children can fast three times in a day, and I will fast three times a day this year.”
Children look forward to fasting because it gives them that rare taste of participating in an 'adult' activity. In fact, sometimes it becomes a challenge for the grown-ups to find an excuse to make the very young ones eat during this month. “When I was growing up, my parents had to convince me to 'store' my 'roja' inside a bottle so that it would stay safe while I had my meals," Nuzhat, 18, reminisces.
Shahriyar Rahman, 31, shares his anecdotes of Ramadan, “The first time I fasted, I was most probably seven or eight years old. My mother fondly recalls that day. I was slowly conditioned to fast a fixed number of days but before I was twelve, I was fasting the whole Ramadan. My family encouraged children to fast, and now I encourage my niece and nephew to fast.”
The spirit of the month of Ramadan is such that it is easier to get children to perform the daily prayers or read the Quran; perhaps this has something to do with the competitiveness that naturally develops between them. Rawnak, now a mother of two shares her childhood Ramadan days, “My cousin Shahriyar and I used to compete against each other as to who could fast a greater number of days. I always won, except for the time when Shahriyar fasted the whole Ramadan and I could not fast for three days because I was sick. Our hujur (Arabic teacher) used to say 'He who fasts the whole of Ramadan will have a glow of noor on the day of the Eid.' I was so jealous; everyone was glowing but me,” she smiled.
The sighting of the new moon brings glad tidings of another Eid in our lives. For children, the day is more special. Ayman, 20, recalls an Eid he spent in Dhaka, having newly returned from England. "We were gathered around the television, when they announced the new moon had been sighted. Bhomboldada, my grandfather's cousin, who lived with us at the time, suddenly broke into song. He was always singing something, but this one really caught my attention.
There was so much joy in his voice, and he told us about Eid shopping and where to go. He made the whole thing into such a heartfelt celebration, singing "Ramzan-er-ey rojar sheshe elo khoosheer Eid". That's probably my earliest memory of what I consider a real chand raat and it's something that I've kept with me over the years. After he passed away in 2003, it just wasn't the same."
Those who experience the ordeal of the whole month can truly savour the delights of Eid, and for fasting children, Eid simply tastes sweeter.
By Yamin Tauseef Jahangir
My Sri Lanka sojourn has come to an end. Many memories, many friends, many great meals. I am totally ready to go back whenever.
I just have to share one last experience that I had there.
The first two days of her stay was spent roaming about the quaint, friendly city that is Colombo. Shopping at a very vibrant department store, picking up knick knacks at an eco friendly boutique, eating fried crabs in front of a heritage hotel by the ocean, arguing with a trishaw driver whose knowledge of English rivalled my knowledge of Sinhala, lazing around with egg hoppers for breakfast in the guest house. You get the picture.
For our last weekend, I had carefully planned a trip to Unawatuna, a beach resort South of Galle. Before the merciless destruction caused by the Tsunami, Unawatuna beach was considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire world. We just had to go there.
Meticulous planning included calling up the hotel, wrangling a great deal from them, which included breakfast and dinner, finding out the train timings and figuring out how to reach Unawatuna from Galle station. Sri Lanka has no domestic flight system. So you travel either by rail or by road. We chose rail, primarily because the particular train journey came with very high recommendations from every quarter.
According to all the information, the train to Galle was supposed to start at six in the morning. We went adequately prepared and adequately underslept. We reached Colombo station, commonly called Fort station, at around 5:15 in the morning. The station was teeming with people. I realised that a large number of people travel from out of Colombo to work there and that it was time for them to go home for the weekend.
We managed to find the right ticket counter and were informed that the train would come around seven! We had an hour and a half wait ahead of us. We were directed to platform five. Once we reached there, we tried to find out the approximate place where the second-class compartment would stop. One kind soul pointed to the end of the platform. We trudged along there, one fairly large Indian carrying a backpack and his petit wife with a bandana tying her hair back carrying a crumpled tote bag. We made quiet a spectacle!
We reached the end of platform and double checked with a local who promptly pointed to the direction we came from! We gave up and stood in the middle of the platform waiting for the train to arrive. Can't lose sanity for a place by the window!
One train chugged in. It was 6:35 in the morning. I asked a person if this would go to Galle. I got the most surrealistic answer. “Sometimes”, he said!
Desperate, I asked a young boy sitting by the window and he vigorously nodded his head, hopefully signifying in the affirmative. He also proceeded to tell me that he is going to Matara. Now, my background research had told me that Matara is beyond Galle. So that particular train had to go through Galle. We quickly found a compartment with 'II' written on it. As luck would have it, there were just two empty seats, none by the window.
The train left precisely at seven. I looked out and saw the familiar sight of urban life in a sub continental city passing by. We dozed off. About five minutes later, we were woken up by the crash of waves! Surely not! It had to be something else, I thought.
I will never forget what we saw. The train was chugging along the Indian Ocean. Out of the window, we could see the endless mass of water, churning waves. There was very little gap between the rail and the ocean. So the waves were crashing almost against the train and one could feel sea spray on the face. We kept looking out, mesmerized. In none of our previous trips did we experience such proximity with the sea while travelling.
Soon the scene changed to serenity. Beaches started to show up. Strips of sand on which people were jogging, walking, doing stretches. It went on to reveal a luxury resort. We could see the blue swimming pool overlooking a slightly larger body of water.
But soon enough, tiredness got the better of us and we fell asleep.
We woke up when the train came to a sudden halt. More surprise was in store for us.
The train had stopped on a bridge. An extremely calm looking river was flowing gently below; green water slowly meandering towards the sea. And the sea was about a hundred meters away. We could clearly see the river gradually morphing into the ocean. Dark green quickly became sea blue. We were some distance from the city and the colour of the ocean had changed from a murky blue to a bright clear blue.
The ride lasted three hours. And the ocean was a constant companion. The supporting cast changed. From the river to a highway which ran parallel to the rail line, to small towns boasting sea food shacks, to resorts and hotels taking advantage of nature's gift to the island, to villages with chicken and vegetable gardens in the backyard. It was not a super fast train, which gave us plenty of time to soak all this in. We passed some known names like Moratuwa, Benthota. A bunch of people got out at Hikkaduwa, another very popular place. Finally, the train rolled into the Galle station. Our journey had come to an end.
The night before, we were at a party and got back late. Had very little sleep because we had to get up and catch the train. In the hustle bustle of it all, we never got the chance to get any breakfast. And we were famished. But, for once, physical hunger took a back seat. Our minds were full of the beautiful ride, the beautiful sights and the vastness of the ocean, which kept us company for three hours. Our eyes had a veritable feast. Breakfast, for once, had to wait.
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