Pert, petite and pretty, she seems comfortable even in the muggy hot weather, despite the drone of the generator. Sitting with Aneela Haque through a powercut provided the perfect opening to a story on summer fashion.
"You can chase trends all you like, but the best way to be happy with what you wear is to be a little weather wise," Aneela says. The ramps, the boutiques, the magazines around town are all bursting with tips and tricks and the latest styles, but at the end of the day, one has to be comfortable with what one is wearing. Especially with our summers being the way they are, with the blazing sun, the sweltering nights, and the occasional burst of rain, there's no way one can ignore the presence of Mother Nature, even in the city."
Nature, then, is her theme for the summer.
Can you paint with all the colours of the wind?
One big consideration for the summer wardrobe is the colours you will be wearing. The shades have to be such that are comfortable in the heat, yet cheery enough to counter the drab when it rains. Fluorescents definitely fit the bill, while Aneela's own collection borrows from nature, with the rainbow shades of blue, purple, bright yellow and orange, and banana-leaf green, along with the basic black, white and red, which are somehow inescapable in a Bengali wardrobe. The Sub-Continental complexion palette ranges from olive to wheatish, so the hues must complement the wearer's skin tone. While women have always played with colour, men have traditionally stuck to a few 'safe' shades, but this summer is the perfect time to experiment. Go with bright accents to sombre neutrals if you don't want to be too daring, although, when done with reason, that's not such a bad thing.
Livin' in a material world
Perhaps more so than in other seasons, this is the time that one needs to pay attention to the fabric of one's clothing. Natural materials that are light and breathable are definitely a must, if one is to avoid the discomfort of clingy fabric sticking to and irritating sweaty skin. Summertime is perfect to break out the cottons, jamdani, light khaadi, linen and soft silk. Aneela's signature graphic prints are instantly recognizable, but one can also play with both traditional and contemporary motifs. Simplicity is the key: too many embellishments can get too crowded, and look tacky.
We will become silhouettes
2009 is seeing a lot of simple, basic cuts, and each designer has his/her own ideas, but the slim fit seems to enjoy unanimous popularity. "You don't want to end up looking like a walking tent, do you?" Aneela chuckles. Last year's flaring dhooti and patiala pyjamas still seem to be popular, but the new short shalwars are also getting attention. Somewhere between 'proper' shalwars and capris, they are straight cuts that show a little ankle. Another interesting concept for evening wear includes the long, sleeveless jacket that brings to mind the Arabian nights.
Ethnic jewellery and accessories are still highly popular. Aneela advocates artisan jewellery, featuring combinations of silver with beads, terracotta clay, and shells. One can even eschew jewellery in favour of a funky scarf, belt or bandanna for an edgier look, teamed with a botua, or the jhola bags favoured by Art students.
Fashion is wearable art, and the bottom line, as Aneela Haque sees it, is that one must dress to make oneself happy. Looks that are bold, yet comfortable, and attuned to one's own personality is what's most stylish this season, and always.
By Sabrina F Ahmad
Photo: David Paul Barikdar
Styling : Aneela Haque
Model: Asif Khan
As the mercury keeps on rising, so does the spread of numerous diseases. Make sure you protect yourself well from…
Malaria and dengue
Higher temperatures, coupled with sudden downpours are thriving conditions for mosquitoes. The risk of getting malaria and dengue, therefore, increases during this time of the year. Make sure you draw the window net at night and use insecticides available at stores. Sleep under a mosquito net.
Make sure you do not allow stagnant water to accumulate in pots inside and outside your home. Keep your sunshade and other areas clean of any kind of stagnant water, be it due to rainwater or your air conditioner. Change the water in flower vases everyday. This will help stop the spread of Aedes mosquito and prevent the spread of Dengue.
Heat stroke and dehydration
Try to avoid long, vigorous, outdoor physical activities during the day. Young children, older adults, obese people and those who sweat abnormally high are at a greater risk. Make sure you take frequent breaks and drink lot of water and wear light-coloured, loose clothes. Summer vacation will soon start and keep an eye on your little ones so that they do not spend long hours under the hot sun.
The value of drinking lots of fluids in summer can't be overrated. It's always a good policy to carry a bottle of water whenever you go outdoors. And not just fluids, watch your diet carefully. You can lose some amount of salts along with the sweat, so make sure you replenish them. Also, try to avoid your exercise during the hottest hours of the day.
Ending up with skin cancer is of course a long-term process but under the scorching sun, you can't escape from other skin problems such as sunburns. The bottom-line of prevention here is chiefly about escaping UV rays. Don't forget to apply sunscreen, and an umbrella can always be helpful. If you think an umbrella is too fancy for you, or inconvenient, at least wear a cap.
Diarrhoea and other water borne diseases take a heavy toll during the summer. One of the reasons is that the warm temperature is very suitable for growth of the bacterial or viral agents. Avoid street foods at all costs, no matter how tempting the glass of sugarcane juice seems at mid-day. Carry your own bottle of pure drinking water.
Your eyes are well adapted to abrupt climatic changes, and warm weather. Infections and allergic reactions to the eye are common this time of the season. Apply pure rose water to freshen your eyes; it is an effective way of removing foreign particles from your eyes. Slices of cucumber over the eyes are a well-known therapy that provides relief to your eyes. Eyes are more sensitive to heat if you are wearing contact lenses; therefore do wear sunglasses when necessary.