Colour blocking for Boishakh
By Sabrina F Ahmad
While Fall fashion is known for its glam, there's something about fresh, vibrant and feel-good about Spring that makes the wardrobe smile. From playful silhouettes to bright colours, to pretty prints, this season is chock-full of fun. And 'fun' is the best way to describe how we celebrate Pohela Boishakh, starting the party right at dawn with a parade of colour.
Now, the interesting contradiction is, despite the parades and floats and the masks and face-painting that take place throughout the day (because so many institutions have taken a cue from DU and now have celebrations of their own), the colours that are present in all of these things, are missing from the wardrobes of the women, who traditionally stick to red and white.
This year, we've decided to change that by mixing the old and the new, by taking our fashion inspiration, not from the age-old traditional garb, but from another popular long-standing Dhaka tradition: the Charukola parade. There's never been a better time to try it than now, considering that two of our favourite Spring 2012 trends are colour blocking and florals.
Clash of colours
One of the most wearable trends of the current season is to wear two or more bright, solid colours together. We already do a lot of colour blocking, especially in the case of plain cotton saris with wide, contrasting borders, or shalwar kameezes, which follow some combination of two parts of the three-piece ensemble being one colour and the third being a completely different colour. You can up the ante by adding bold and bright accessories to create quite the visual treat.
Hot colours to try this Boishakh, for women, would be fuschia, tangerine, marigold yellow, sea green, and turquoise. For men, there's maroon, ocean blue, grass green and mustard yellow.
Our warm, South Asian skin tones are perfect for these bright, vibrant colours, so mix away with panache, and feel them brighten up your Boishakh. Since we're mostly working with solid colours, there's no wrong way to do this. Start with pairing two hues, and then try on pieces in a third or fourth to see if it pleases your eye. This trend isn't limited to your threads; you can just as well use bags, shoes, scarves and jewellery to add accents and highlights to your look. If you're not comfortable with mixing two bright shades, tone down one dominant shade by teaming it with a softer neutral piece. The important thing here, as in any aspect of fashion, is to be comfortable in what you wear, and not let the clothes wear you.
Prints, patterns and more
The other hot trend that has carried over from last year and reformatted to fit the current season is the trend for prints. With spring being the time for blossoms, flower power is the name of the game. Big or small, ornate or minimalist, floral prints have always been popular, but this season, it hits a whole new high. With Pohela Boishakh in mind, you don't even have to restrict the blossoms to prints on your apparel; there will definitely be plenty of booths and fairs offering everything from face-painting to garlands to wear in your hair or as ornaments. In fact, you can pair your monochrome garment with real flowers as accessories and nail down two trends in one outfit.
Animal prints are also popular globally this season, but during Pohela Boishakh, that means something else in Bangladesh. Instead of tiger or zebra stripes, what you'll be seeing on the floats and paper-mache masks are actual animals, so what you're looking out for in your clothes are animal motifs.
Most outlets will have their red and white Boishakh collections out this year, but you can break the mold by going for other shades on the spectrum. Pride, Aarong and Banglar Mela have great selections of plain cotton saris in monochrome or bi-colour schemes that you can mix and match with blouses and petticoats of different hues. If you go the kameez or kurti route, AnDes, Deshal, Jatra, Banglar Mela, and Aarong's Taaga collection are excellent places to hit up, because their clothing features motifs that go very well with all artwork associated with the festival. Places like Kumudini and Bibi's are great to check out for accessories, but this time of the year, you can find wonderful ornaments in clay, wood, bone, string and many other materials, just about anywhere. Check out your road-side stalls near New Market for some quirky, cost-effective pieces. As for men, AnDes, Deshal, Jaatra and Banglar Mela are all great choices, and Yellow is also a good place to scout for some great Boishakh buys. If you're planning to go the t-shirt and fatua route, Aziz Supermarket in Shahbagh is also a good place to visit.
This Pohela Boishakh, leave the red and white to the decor and celebrate the year's biggest Bengali festival in parade style.
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Makeup and styling: Farzana Shakil
Location: Coffee World and Nandos, Dhanmondi, Road 27, Cafe Droom