Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 78, Tuesday, July 28, 2009



An insider's view

IN Bangladesh, fashion has many facets; one needs to consider the social environment, occasion and weather before any statements may be determined. We are cautious, careful and watchful about our appearance. Add to that the need to be suitably dressed, and you can safely say that we make it our motto to be dressed with a degree of attention and accuracy. We are obsessed with the idea of matching the right shade of colour. Imagine an unmatched blouse or petticoat; and you will be on the edge of a deshi style disaster. But we are getting eccentric in the name of fashion and we find that certain groups of individuals are clearly committing fashion harakiri.

They would wear a tie-dyed or bizarrely printed or peculiarly embroidered piece of blouse with almost any sari, deluding themselves that they are making a fashion statement. We need to get across to them that it may be wiser to restrain and contain their fashion schemes. Bangalis believe in subtlety; a Bengali belle will stand out in the crowd in her elegant weave simply but with an oomph of attitude and style.

Dress code in the easy, fabulous ethnic styles
We like to identify ourselves with the 'South Asian' heritage. Sari, shalwar suits, lehenga joras, full ghagras, casual ethnic blouses as in Bangla western styles are all widely worn ensembles. Men love to don panjabi as casual wear and sherwani or achkaan for formal occasions. This summer designers are making their journey across the world in search of inspiration. The collections are going to be in exciting colours; bright, vibrant, electric with styles that will merge West with East. We would like to dress up as traditionally trendy. Ethnic ideas are back on the swing and minimal and dowdy modern looks are definitely out. Montages of prints put together on a single garment or layered embroidered light cotton separates are going to rule. We will again try to explore old styles and meld the new or traditional with the trendy. The full-skirted look is back but this time it will have a further developed crafty look. We are embracing a rather dramatic assemblage.

Magnificence in men's style
Regal inspiration in ethnic wear is a recurrent theme that is not likely to go out of style. We tend to draw elaborately from our heritage. Men's traditional styles are going to be in jewel tone turquoise, emerald, gold, salmon, ivory, and black.

The styles are in long cuts with drainpipe trousers or churidar. The trousers are getting more stylish with variations in detailing. It is being treated with embellishments; buttons or simply the asymmetrical hemlines, giving it a unique finish.

In men's fashion the world over the finer and subtle impositions probably create the difference, making a true statement. Men's wear today is developed with a wide variation of designs. It caters to an audience of quiet sophistication.

These traditional suits can come embroidered in a variety of ways that are simply elegant. Self-coloured motifs are sparsely placed with finer detailing on the collar and front opening. The idea is to keep it very subtle. Benarasi brocade material is further embellished with application. The use of metal threads and crystals is sometimes integrated to further enrich the brocade. This kind of ensemble is very opulent.

Sherwanis are also embroidered in a heavier all-over pattern in kashmiri or jamevar motifs. Silk threads are intricately hand-embroidered with metals and stones to give it dimension and shine. These suits are finished with a simple trimming as already an elaborate pattern is taking place on the surface of the garment. This season men's traditional look will put grace over extravagance. The ingenious simplicity and precision in design is the clear direction for men's traditional wear.

Ethnic flair in women's style
Gold and metallic weaves will continue to exude richness in women's wear. Our ethnic evening and bridal collections are and have always been inspired by Mughal and princely South Asian heritage. These collections are lavishly intricate and require laborious involvement of highly skilled concepts and implementations. Jewelled embroidery plays an instrumental role in defining such collections.

Today more women in Bangladesh are opting for tailored jacket blouses or bustiers paired with mermaid or flared lehengas. These ensembles are again elaborately embellished with fine karchupi and stone application making them extremely extraordinary and special.

The confident women are demanding and will be convinced with only the finest work. The fabrics are lighter in net, organza, or even georgettes. Heavier fabrics in brocade Benarasi are also used extensively but are probably better for winter. This summer again vibrant colours are taking off in a big way and contrast is widely applied on such ensembles.

Sari will continue to play a significant role in sensuous and flamboyant styles. Delicate embroidery, sequins, crystals, rhinestones in every conceivable colour in heavily jewelled pieces has made a clear return.

These saris look particularly good with statement blouses. Bejewelled in spaghetti strap, off shoulder, halters make them chic and stylish. Heirloom weaves are timeless and a great investment. Dhakais are superb and light for summer wear and extremely wearable. Traditional saris in the region are patola (Patan Gujrat), tasar weaves (Bhagalpur Bihar), baluchar (West Bengal), Benaras brocades, tanchoi, ikat (Cuttack Orissa) and kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu).

All these are saris with a legacy and a must-have collectible as they radiate elegance and sophistication and will almost never go out of style. The deshi fashionstas in my opinion should value the quality and abundance.

Jewellery and accessories are an important element and should be worn with considerable thought as it can enhance or kill your look. Jewelled belts, armlets, bold bracelets, raton chur (a finger ring bracelet attachment), and brooches will simply dress up your look.

Footwear is equally vital. Jewelled slip-ons look fabulous with long suits, even saris, only if you are tall but if you are short wear it with stilettos. Pair outfit with embellished or plain clutches that are the rave but you can also opt for wrist purses, festive and classic.

It is always essential to choose your style to match your body and personality. Age is no longer an issue as long as you can find your comfort level. All you must do is carry the outfit with confidence.

Photo Courtesy: Maheen Khan


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