There are very few women who are not lured by the power of make-up. Whether it is a simple line of kajol or a smudge of red lipstick or a dab of blush on, who hasn't experimented with this idea of enhancing one's looks with a little bit of colour? Perhaps it is this inherent fascination with colours that inspires artists to paint on canvas and for make-up artists to paint on faces. Farzana Shakil's book aptly titled Looks demonstrates a make up artist's imagination and expertise to transform faces, sometimes making them unrecognisable from the original. From glamourous and bold, alluring to coquettish to the downright eccentric, the looks displayed by the abundance of dramatic photographs of well-known models and personalities, will take the reader by surprise. Shakil gives a glimpse of the versatility of make-up and its capacity to change the look of a person. Edited by Raffat Binte Rashid, designed by Towfik Elahi and illustrated with brilliant photography, Looks is an exposé on the elaborate, zealous side to looking good.
The book begins with basic tips on using different kinds of cosmetics such as the bases, concealers, eye shadow, etc. Shakil goes into details on how to enhance the features by accentuating the ones that are attractive and toning down those that are not. Pointers on dramatising the looks with hair makeovers are given next. Elaborate buns and braids are a favourite of Shakil's and give a hint of her affinity towards creating timeless classical looks that never fail to impress.
Shakil's forte is in doing bridal make-up, a skill that has earned her considerable admiration and fame. Her specialty is in creating a dramatic, unconventional look that will set the bride apart from any other woman at the wedding venue. Here Shakil gives important tips to would-be brides. "The last thing you need on your wedding day is to fret over your looks," writes Shakil, " to a void such a situation you should decide on a make-up artist of your choice from the day you wear your engagement ring." She recommends a good grooming routine well in advance of the big day.
But it is the chapter on looks of different eras that grabs one's attention and keeps it. Shakil admits that the past holds 'an intense interest' for her. Using the versatile looks of Suzanna, a well-known face in the modelling world, she has recreated the glamour and style of each era with dexterity and drama. Shakil writes about her childhood days, a time when she was first inspired by the way make-up and clothes created certain images: "My mother and her friends posed as great fashionistas…They had simple ways of life. Yet they were all elegantly dressed in Dora sarees or Dhakai Bitis, a simple bira khopa and light gold jewellery. Sometimes their eyes were lined with kohl that they themselves made at home. They used surma on the eyes and its grey colour created that impression of coloured eye pencils of today…these images kept me mesmerised long after their evening tea together was over and till today these take me back in time as inspiration." Shakil recreates the doll-like coy looks of the 40s, the doe-eyed look of the 50s, the sultry glamour of the 60s, the funky, rebellious appearance of the 70s, the loud disco fervour of the 80s, the sophistication of the 90s and finally the coming together of simplicity, elegance and the notion of being natural in the 2000s.
A photo shoot of well-known women who had their make-up done by the author, gives the book an interesting twist. Geeteara Safya Chowdhury, a leading entrepreneur and president of Dhaka Club, Maheen Khan, a leading designer, actresses Suchanda, Champa, Suborna Mustafa and Bipasha, choreographer and model Tupa as well as successful women from the corporate world are among the individuals highlighted.
Looks also has important tips for aspiring models including acquiring a confident attitude, being able to handle rejection, being disciplined and of course always being well-groomed.
The finale of the book, which is priced at Tk 1000, comes with a chapter called 'interesting makeovers' and is definitely interesting, especially the shocking makeover of a man into a woman. All this and more with the magic of make-up.
--Aasha Mehreen Amin
(R) thedailystar.net 2005