Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 42, Tuesday November 4, 2008



BridalAsia Event 2008

My experience at BridalAsia this year has been a unique moment in my professional career. I returned to the event after a long break, clearly with great expectations. My intention was simply to make a good presentation from Bangladesh. It was my sixth entry at BridalAsia and I needed to present a matured collection fully developed on the heritage of my country. It had to look and feel Bangladeshi rather than simply a line echoing the contemporary south Asian style that can look very generic and trend setting. Please don't get me wrong. My styles were definitely derived from today's global inspirations but it had a purely Bangladeshi twist in aesthetics and presentation. The essence and characteristics were kept true to our style with a very ethnic flair. It was extremely well received and exceeded my anticipation. It made me confident and further reiterated the fact that if you remain inventive you will come across stronger.

My collection was comprised of ensembles that were floating and free. They were light gossamer in feel yet luxurious in appearance. I played with the styling, making each piece a unique cut. The element of surprise was very important to me. In keeping with the concept of ethnic formal wear, I tried to exude sheer elegance through my pieces, as they were not only wearable but also very chic. Layers of sheer fabric swinging in harmony, this poetic expression seemed so very effective and fresh. In general, the response to my collection was phenomenal and it made me very proud to be a Bangladeshi.

Accessories were an integral part of the event as no bride can go out there without jewellery. Every designer had a jewellery partner, except me. I had taken an entire collection to present with my show clothes. They were elaborate pieces developed by me and produced by our local artisans. It was extremely well received.

Tarun Tahiliani

A pioneer in the Indian design industry, he presented a stylish, subtle collection. His Tahiliani signature look was certainly reflecting the finest understated sophistication. His lehengas were intricately worked and embellished with swarovski fine needlework and zardozi. His use of semi precious stones was composed in the most dynamic application. Draped and form-fitted, his pieces looked like sari dresses with just the right touch of India's princely past combined with today's aesthetics. He is known as the master of details. TT, as he is affectionately known, created a collection with an Indian sensibility yet very international in appeal. His colours were warm yet muted. Draped and pleated, he is the man with the Italian style; yet his inspirations are rooted in Mughal India.

Falguni and Shane Peacock
Their collection was tremendously feminine and glamorous. Bold striking colours in an ombre of shades. The clothes were heavy and very dramatic with the use of a wide variety of applications. Textured appliqué of fabrics, large stones, 3d compositions of orchids; peacock, trailing foliages and real feathers made their collection wild and daring. The couture blouses were superbly put together with rich neckline finishes draped and pleated. The emphasis on sparkle and shine using large elements were the focus of their design. The peacock bride was wearing bejewelled lehenga joras studded with crystals with an extravagant use of diamantes. Their work came across as strikingly experimental.

Honey Waqar
She is from Lahore, Pakistan. She is known as the Queen of Pakistan's fashion industry. Her line mostly consisted of whites, like in a white wedding and pastel colours. There were nineteenth century European style gowns with a heavy oriental feel. Lace was used as an integral statement. She used stones and pearls to accessorise her garments as trims, belts and cuffs. Her sashayed skirts with long sherwani style jackets remind one of Franco Vietnamese ensembles. Her use of Jinnah style caps was an attempt to give a Pakistani flair to the collection.

Ritu Beri
She is the protégé of the French master embroider Francois Lesage. Beri was the first Indian designer to showcase at Paris in 1998. Her collection at BridalAsia is about drama and elaborate silhouettes. Her colours were browns, sand, coffee and caramel. They were extremely grand, and almost larger than life. There were embroidered bouquets and cascades of flounces, ruffles and gathers on long trailing gowns. She used metallic embroidery swarovski crystals and large sequins to make a statement. The collection embodies a clear opera, theatrics with a magical feel. Her creation belies a technical complexity with a savvy construction of draping.

These were the five designers at the BridalAsia show. Each queue was about 10 minutes long. Each time, the designers revealed a completely new story with a new mood. The music was captivating and exceptional. Ranging from opera, jazz and classical, it was a superb combination. It was upbeat and elevating. Lights, camera and more action followed the show as media interviewed the designers and thoughts were shared. As a designer from Bangladesh I was very pleased to communicate with the press, it gave me the opportunity once again to bring to light the rich textile heritage of our fine nation.

A three-day BridalAsia exhibition followed the show. This was an elaborate event. There were designers, jewellers, shoe and bag designers, décor experts and dinnerware, chocolates as perfect wedding gifts, lifestyle home products, linen and home furnishings, silverware, and packaging. All were an integral part of the affair; fantastic creations in original ideas. These were actually professional presentations. Not retailers off the high street. A great lesson to be learnt for all those who are involved in event management is: please try to differentiate between those traders who are purely in the business of retailing and those who are individuals who passionately create designs for a living.
Photo courtesy: Bridalasia.com

By the way

Caring for clothes

While the earth is taking her diurnal motions, it is again time for season change. And as change of season approaches, changing wardrobe accordingly continues. While packing off your clothing, mothballs are compulsory to prevent them from dampness and stink. But as a substitute to mothballs, pieces of soap can also be used. Just take the leftover soap slivers and put them in a vented plastic bag. Fill the bag with seasonal clothes before packing them away. Not only will the scent prevent them from harm from moths, but also they'll smell great when ready for use.

Under A Different Sky

NOT so long ago, in a city full of men in black suits and women in high heels they landed. “Arnob?” “Andrew?” “Nazia?” I uttered with a concerned voice at their first sight. Somehow their flight came in early and we missed each other the first half hour of their stay in Washington DC.

Wondering if any names on the terrorist alert list resembled theirs, and hoping that wasn't the case. After running through the whole Washington national airport I finally located them trying to dial long distance numbers through local pay phones, it was a breath of fresh air…the artists have arrived, bringing a piece of Bangladesh with them, through their exhausted smiles.

I was greeted with a hug, and I felt better. After apologizing for making them wait, I took them out where my other friends waited with rides to take them to the hotel. This was the beginning of Drishtipat sponsored Arnob and Friends tour, a tour that I wish now never ended.

Drishtipat, a non-profit, non-partisan volunteer organization committed to safeguarding human rights in Bangladesh through action-oriented projects is something that is close to many of our ex-pat hearts. Sometime earlier this year the decision was made of sponsoring Arnob and his band to do a world tour, a collaboration of the now generation Bengalis, the ones like us who are here and want to see our country move forward and the ones like Arnob who are in Bangladesh and is an integral part of moving the country forward.

In this collaboration there were no bureaucratic behaviours, there were no diva-like attitudes thrown towards anyone, we were not professional organizers, this was all new for Arnob and us. We had only one common interest; we want Bangladesh to be a part of the world's voice through which many unheard voices will be noticed.

Arnob, Andrew, Nazia, Jibon, Dhrubo and Nazrul bhai have been the six most mentioned names among North American Bengalis in the last two weeks. They started in DC, hopped to Austin, conquered New York and Toronto and ended with a bang in London. Five cities, and three countries, thousands of awestruck souls.

I saw the most genuine of smiles in the lips of homesick hearts when Arnob started with “amar shonar moyna pakhi”, those smiles turned into exciting singing mouths when he continued on to Shantiniketon's favourite “Tui lal pahar er desh ja, ranga mati er desha ja, hethai tore manai sena go.” And I also saw those exciting singing mouths fall into silence as their eyes filled with tears when Nazia sang “Ore nil doriya” with her blissful voice. Andrew's saxophone didn't leave any heart untouched, Nazrul bhai's dhol didn't leave any feet untapped, Dhrubo's bass guitar had everyone shaking their heads to the beats and Jibon's drumming had the hall dancing.

There weren't just Bengalis, the audience was a mix of the world's colours, the world's races. We all became one through the energy these good-hearted musicians brought to us from our far away home Dhaka. An older American man stopped me at one of the shows and asked, “Why haven't I heard this before? These guys need to be heard by the whole world!”

I felt proud, I selfishly enjoyed every moment they sang, every moment they were here. We are left with many memories, of good people, of good hearts, the core that drives you to do amazing things in life. Somehow between all the black suits and high heels I had forgotten a part of that core. I am aware again, they have moved the dust out of our hearts, our lives, and in this new refreshing light, I want to scream out and sing “hok kolorob” let their be chaos! Because in between all the chaos we can create harmony, through Arnob and friends, through Drishtipat…and we will make a difference…everyday from today…



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