Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 33, Tuesday, August 17, 2010



Check It Out

Zarzain meets her match!

Think drapes and you instantly associate saris. When one says say men and drapes eyeballs roll, cynics cry "fashion crime" and women opine, "metrosexual"! But Ecstasy's new line of men's panjabis, Maleodrama, has proved that if anything, drapes and men can go hand in hand, create an elegant impression and also cause a few heartbreaks.

Designer Shahrukh Amin chooses to keep the length short yet succeeds to preserve the regal grace and composure one associates with the more familiar longer-length panjabis.

In his careful selection of colours from suave white to refined reds to flashy pinks, Amin experiments with cuts, plays with forms and folds; be it in the use of cotton shawls or dhoti-styled pyjamas revamped to a capri look.

Handmade and hand crafted, these panjabis are made from fabrics exclusively woven for the collection and along with the intricate embellishments they are one of a kind, with no second pieces being made.

Recently, at their large retail outlet at Level 7, Bashundhara City, Ecstasy introduced Meleodrama along with their newest additions to Zarzain - their exclusive line of Western wear for women.

As models walked the makeshift ramp within the aisles of the store, audiences witnessed a wonderful display of hip casuals, trendy summer wear and ravishing cocktail dresses. The music spurred a playful motion, fast paced and elevated, as onlookers held their breath.

The success of Ecstasy in the last decade can be a shining example that shows how hard work, dedication and creative exuberance can transform what was a meagre beginning to a major label.

Throughout the month of Ramadan they will bring new additions to their already popular line for men, Tanjim -- and their vision of women's couture, Zarzain.

By Mannan Mashhur Zarif

Check It Out

Andes’ new collection

This Eid, Aneela Haque, launches her new collection titled Sun, that is designed at par with the humid and scorching weather this season.

Her new wardrobe is a complete fusion of mixed media whereby Aneela's signature ethnic wearable art fuses into hype graphical impressionism and modern art in jamdani, handloom, cotton and khaddar.

She also has a jewellery and accessories label ,“Maduli” to complement the new line for a full and complete wardrobe.

Children's options include Western and Eastern frocks, shalwar kameez sets, panjabis and fatuas.

Her line of menswear is comprised of short and long punjabi in jamdani, achkan or uttorio, fatuas and half-sleeve shirts for a break after a long day of Eid. Leather shoes in various styles and makes are available to complete the entire ensemble.

The women's line includes graphical saris with funky tops and blouses, three piece unstitched sets, fatuas, tops, scarves, short and long punjabis and Western fusion attire.

To sum it up, Aneela also has a home fashion line to give your interiors a new look with vibrant graphical khaadi cushions and throwaway rugs in her signature style.

The two outlets of AnDes are located at Z N Tower, Road 8 House 2, Ground Floor (Siemens House) Gulshan 1, Dhaka and Rangs Anam Plaza, Saatmasjid Road, 3rd flr, Dhanmondi , Dhaka.

Photographer: David Paul Barikdar
Model: Asif Khan

Book Launch

Meeting of the minds at the rasoikhana

IT is hard to imagine that the launch of a cookbook would provide intellectual stimulation and enriching entertainment. Yet that is what transpired at the Dhaka Club on the evening of August 10.

Over the last two years, cookbooks on Bengali cuisine have become somewhat synonymous with the name of Shawkat Osman, who has published seven such tomes over that period. 'Recipes from the Rasoi' is his most recent and the subject of the launch. Rasoi , or rather rasoikhana, is the term for the Mughal kitchen.

His cookbooks though, are not just handbooks doling out recipes to keep open under a paperweight beside the stove; they present the reader/cook with a nuanced understanding of the history of the dishes being prepared and how they reached our country, the evolution to their current state and the stories behind these changes. ‘Recipes from the Rasoi’ deals our cuisine’s Mughal heritage, and deals with our chevon recipes.

Echoing the book's multidimensional appeal, the launch itself contained a grippingly cultured investigation of the book by the discussants. Eminent scholar Mizanur Rahman presided over the ceremony, and the distinguished panel of discussants consisted of Dhaka University history professor Sonia Amin, poet, playwright and novelist Syed Shamsul Haq, Khademul Islam, essayist and critic Syed Manzoorul Islam and poet Kaiser Haq. All of them have known the author well for decades.

The subjects under discussion ranging from feminism, colonialism, the nature of the evolution of cuisine not only over time but also across space and cultures, to the vivacity and brilliance of Osman, were touched upon with enlightening insight and rare wit. Hardly surprising considering the elite panel.

Sonia Amin, credited as the Editor of the book, but denying that title in favour of that of Historical Consultant, knew the author as a fellow student at university in the 70s. She described Oman as a bright student, but also a perennial backbencher, whom she never saw make the trip to the library. On the subject of the book she said: ”It is wonderful history made concise. It's not just a book of recipes, but those reading it will get a sense of history of the place, and how the dishes originated and evolved.”

Syed Shamsul Haq revealed that he knew Osman since he was a little boy. He first knew him as a neighbour and recounted cheerily how the little boy used to filch mangoes from their yard. He also revealed how he first learnt of Osman's passion for Bangladeshi cuisine. “Twenty, twenty-five years ago, Shawkat told me to go to a restaurant in Gulshan. It was his restaurant, and it served Bangladeshi food. I remember that aloo bhorta was made at the table. That's when I realised his passion for our cuisine,” he narrated.

In another story, Shamsul Haq told of Osman's diverse talents. They used to work together many years ago, and Haq noticed that Osman used to keep typing away on a computer all day. Upon inquiry, he found out that he was writing on Bangladeshi music. These anecdotes bring to focus the picture of a man who values his culture and its unique characteristics.

All the discussants shared their memories of Osman, and the picture of a sincere man who enjoyed life to the fullest began to form. Shamsul Haq expressed wonder that he seemed to be an ever-present member of the club with a busy social life, and yet had the time to write six first rate cookbooks, with five more in the pipeline!

It wasn't all blind praise though. Khademul Islam, while commending the book's incorporation of historical aspects, suggested that the two aspects of the book the recipes and the historical aspects could have melded better. Upon finishing his critique, he turned to Osman sitting behind him, and a faint “It's okay, I won't beat you up,” could be heard through the microphone, causing the audience and discussants to break out in laughter at this evidence of the jovial nature of the man behind the recipes.

There was one common thread through all the discussants' speeches; Shawkat Osman's passion for the food he so unreservedly shares with us. “The best parts of the book are when he is describing the food and its preparation,” said Khademul Islam, “The language betrays his love for the subject.” The discussants also expressed tremendous respect for Osman for taking Bangladeshi cuisine across the borders to the world, in the form of Bangladeshi food festivals held on foreign soil and his cooking shows aired on Indian television.

Shawkat Osman thanked all his friends and family for supporting him and helping him indulge his passion. He also thanked Dhaka Club and specifically its President Sadat Hossain Salim, for sponsoring two of his books, including 'Recipes from the Rasoi'. Finally the President said that he was honoured on behalf of the Club to have helped in such an undertaking, and invited more of the Club's members to make similar endeavours.

It was an enchanting evening; the book’s scope and subjects allowed the intellectual tone. The audience were enthralled by the speakers, and thoroughly entertained by the witty interludes of the presiding Mizanur Rahman, who always had a funny remark or anecdote at the end of each discussant's address that had the audience in stitches.

The book is available from the Dhaka Club reception. Written by a man who has enjoyed life's spices, the book promises to be a good read as a coffee table book and also a valuable kitchen companion. Moreover, if you are looking for a gift for a friend, foreign or domestic, curious about our culture and cuisine, you could do worse than pick up a copy of 'Recipes from the Rasoi'.




Her journey began in 2003 with an exhibition of her line of clothing at Drik Gallery. Apart from that she has also held exhibitions in places such as the Shooting Club, Muldhara Gallery, Uttara Club, Delhi and London as well. In the year 2009, she held another exhibition at Drik Gallery on the theme of “Nature and Women.” The following year she was awarded by “Annadin Bexifabrics Eid-Fashion Show.”

The specialty of Shireen Karim's designs lies in their simplicity; “Strikingly simple” as they are often termed. Her belief is that the challenge to a designer lies in presenting something simple in the most attractive way. She also believes that local materials are just as good as imports for creating attires that are value for money.

Nature is her inspiration and as such nature's colours and designs have found deserving prominence on her clothes. Apart from trees, flowers, butterflies, shrubs and bushes her designs also include geometrical designs and she openly admits her weakness for the paisley or kalka.

Designer Shireen Karim's “Sayambara" features embellishments with block, screen print, kantha, embroidery, dokka print, painting are all amongst her arsenal of creative designs. Prices range from Tk900-16000. Karim's latest collection will be available from 15 Ramadan at House #21, Road #6, Sectors #4. Uttara. Also available at Flat #A-2, 86 Indira Road, Tejgaon, Dhaka.

LS desk


Bejewelled with Trendz

Her family is originally from Iraq and Persia coming in all the way to India and settling down in Bangladesh. Their true royalty and entrepreneurial background served as her inspiration for this business. "I've always had a passion for gems, jewellery and business", said Mashrufa Bashar, who started Trendz back in 2008.

It's always been overwhelming seeing women in the royal family all bedazzled and adorned with gems and jewellery. However, her biggest inspirations have been her two beloved grandmothers who come from a rich cultural background..

In 2010, along with Zeeshaan Rahman, she decided to take their business to the next level and now Trendz Jewellery is global. By joining their creative and business skills they want to keep their fans mesmerised and asking for more.

At Trendz they value and appreciate quality and provide high-end fashion jewellery for women who like to make heads turn. "We want all our trend setter fans to enjoy our jewellery" says Mashrufa, and also adding "we're here to add a little more sparkle to women's world!"

Because Trendz Jewellery is a blend of antique and modern designs; their collections represent international fashion with an emphasis on cultural uniqueness. Trendz offers elegant and beautiful products at an affordable price.

The jewellery are crafted in silver, plated with 22K gold, oxidised gold and white gold, set with precious and semi-precious authentic gemstones such as green onyx, pink tourmaline, sapphire, peridot, ruby, white sapphire/kundan, blue rolite, citrine quartz, amethyst and zircons.

"I love everything deshi. My dream was to launch the rare, modern and contemporary look in my jewellery collection and bring it back to my home country, but also my main aim is to get international recognition for my brand", she added. Coming from a very well known entrepreneurial background where her family has earned recognition through their own business and social services in Bangladesh, Mashrufa has worked with Hong Kong Education and Manpower Bureau and been living in Hong Kong for almost 10 years where she has achieved most of her career and work recognition.

When she decided to launch Trendz, it was all about creativity and how to bring in new and innovative ideas to come up with something totally unique. Her essential endeavour was to create ravishing designs and make it accessible to people.

"All my collections are inspired by antiquity the world over, be it Persian, Egyptian or Art deco, Mughal designer jewellery." She continues "Design and creation go way beyond realm". Trendz is now going to sell across the country and around the globe. She tries to launch 3-4 collections with new trendy designs every year keeping in mind the different season, taste and festivity mode.

When asked what kind of jewellery appeals to women today she said, "Girls look for designs that complement their looks and style. So contemporary jewellery works out the best when it is a blend of traditional and modern designs. Most of our buyers are from abroad and they seem to appreciate our jewellery and designs more," she answered with full confidence.

Trendz has showcased i's collection and the response has been over whelming in Hong Kong and other parts of South East Asia. And it's time for the home town to get a glimpse of Trendz.

They will have their first ever exhibition in Dhaka at "The 8", 20-21 August, 2010.

By Tanziral Dilshad Ditan
Photo courtesy: Trendz Jewellery





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