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All DRESSed up!

Colourful Polka dots, the puffed hair and the craving for dresses all point to a fast ending road to the 60s! I guess to some extent all of us have been going through fashion recycling phases eagerly awaiting for the return of the very famous fashion revolution. Well the magazines and the ramps suggest that the wait might just be over. However in our society its not always easy to embrace the latest fads (understatement of the year!) but moderating the global style without distorting its originality is often a challenge. The following looks into some ways this can be achieved in outfit, accessory and hair.
Dresses are all the rage. Teens are venturing into the world of colours, psychedelic patterns from the safe grown up solid colour phase. The stripes remain all-time all-occasion favourites. Frills and flares are back. The puffed hands and the pleats make for a chic look- a celebration of youth. However by no means are the ever-black, sleek, long dresses considered outdated. But the flares adding to the volume well below the waist appears to be the more popular choice. Around Dhaka what girls have done for short dresses, is add a pair of skintight slacks, full length or three quarter. Rather than diminish the beauty of the dress, it appears to add a bit of funk. But it seems to work better with knee length flared dresses and less so with the hip-hugging types. The neck styles have no boundaries and this is where you can cook up your own design. Starting from boat necks to high collars, everything's likely to work…except maybe the 'bunty-bubblies' (shirt collars), unless it's a simple cotton short-sleeved day-dress. So a lot depends on combinations. Now the most important thing about dresses in our country… you cannot find fitted readymade dresses at reasonable prices. The fact that most parts of the world have caught on to the change, Bangladesh export industries is likely to be sending the leftovers and rejects to market opposite Dhaka College soon. But until then the materials are quite available at Chadni Chawk…and you we would have to trust our tailors with the making.

Accessories are still largely chunky. While UK's cosmopolitan would dictate that it's the era of the many-layered hoops, in earrings, bangles or neckpieces… the 'deshi' metal chunky jewelries are well worth a look; particularly if one desires to add a dimension of fusion into the outfit. These are available at reasonable prices in Piraan and often Prabartana. Bags are bigger than ever…and fashion trends suggest that the animal-rights groups have achieved their purpose when it comes to bags at least. Leather bags are a thing of the past…large summery straw and Jute bags hung over the shoulders complete the casual look. Scarves and belts, be it soft chiffon prints or loud glittery sequined ones are in. However it's more important to contrast rather than match so that it fulfills the purpose of accessorizing. A plain dress with a loud scarf would accentuate the look …whereas a loud dress can be balanced with a plain simple belt or sash. This is another thing that we all welcome with open arms: broad belts and sashes. It's the perfect solution for those of us who don't want to lose the weight but look glamorous anyway. It exaggerates the waist, hides the telltale lines on the dress all the while accessorizing the outfit! Empire waist dresses are another favourite. These are dresses (or tops) where the waistlines are raised higher than usual to create an illusion of length.

Although the 60s appear to be a major influence for today's trendsetters, some unique new styles have emerged and merged quite well with old stuff. The pictures show an eerie similarity between recent dresses with those in the 60s revolution. Like all other articles I would stress on adapting fashion to suit your personality. Those being said, have fun inventing and experimenting! I took help for this article form UK's online Vogue, Indian Cosmopolitan, fiftiesweb.com so you could check them out as well.

Philosophy in Postmodern Cinema

Cinema is not just entertainment. OK it is that; most of the movies are just for entertainment, but there are those few that make their mark in history, for being more than mere entertainment. A good movie is like any other work of art; it has to be comprehended on a deeper basis. From the early 50s film noir to modern sci-fi, what has led certain movies to have a huge cult following while others leave much to be desired even from a toddler? I shall discuss this with an emphasis on philosophy and examples from three great postmodern movies that I'm sure most of the people out there have seen.

The Matrix: I decided to start with the most obvious. The Matrix is packed with philosophy. From Morpheus's nihilistic views on reality (“What is "real"? How do you define "real"?”) to the issues of radical deception, determinism etc. Existentialism will also be very familiar to fans of the Matrix. The belief is that you cannot know for sure that anything exists but what you are conscious of. Does this movie you are watching even exist? You can see it with your eyes but all you can be sure of is that your consciousness is getting these signals and interpreting them. Throw in ancient philosophies of Gnosticism and Buddhism with stylistic film noir fashion special effects and kung-fu moves, and you have The Matrix (let's not talk about the philosophically shallow sequels). I'm not trying to convince anyone into watching the movie, everyone has already watched it. I'm just pointing out the philosophical significance that makes the movies what it is.

Fight Club: If there ever was a movie about Nietzschian philosophy then this is it. Despite the bloody fight scenes, and the very epithet, the movie has deep-rooted philosophical and psychological issues, which has garnered many a negative criticism. The movie has been criticized for its anarchist and nihilistic ideals. To sum up the movie in one line I would quote from Nietzsche's “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”: "man is something which ought to be overcome". Indeed. Tyler Durden in the movie says “Its not until you lose everything that you are free to do anything”. The fight club offers white-collar office workers something their typical jobs cannot. Winning or losing a fight does not matter because extreme pleasure or pain makes the male fighter feel strong and alive. Even in defeat one has extended oneself. If Nietzsche ever made a movie, it would probably look like this, only with less violence. It has one of the biggest cult followings ever; if you missed this movie, you missed out on one of the deepest, most startling, and most stylistic postmodern film noir epic ever created.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Saved the best for last. Unbelievably, this one is an 'art' film that is actually enjoyable to anyone who watches it. This one is also very strongly Nietzschian. It is about characters that try to transform their lives from within. Drama, romance, science fiction, that much is a given. But prevalent throughout the movie are some very important questions about life. Can a person change? In an everyday scenario, of course he can, but in a wider concept, the choices one makes to change are already predetermined by who that person is, so it's not really changing. Life's quite a paradox, however one tries to exercise this freedom of change one only ends up rattling ones chains. If you want a movie that raises some questions, provokes some thoughts, and at the same time entertains you, then this is it. It has Nietzsche written all over it, and the title comes from Alexander Pope's poem 'Eloise to Abelard'.

By Ahsan Sajid

Book review
Realms of the Gods

I remember the first time Le Chupacabra wrote to me. It was a very angry e-mail, expressing in his bountiful vocabulary, his displeasure with something related to the Rising Stars. A heated correspondence followed, before we finally met. Four years later, he's very much a part of the magazine, and we get along famously. Sometimes, you find your friends in the most unexpected places.

Daine finds her unexpected friends in the strangest circumstances in the final book of Tamora Pierce's The Immortals series. One last recap is due. Veralidaine “Daine” Sarrasrin, a young country bumpkin gifted with the ability to communicate with, heal and take on the form of animals, takes on a job as the horse-master's apprentice for the Riders, the Royal Guards for King Jonathan and Queen Thayet of Tortall. At the Palace, she finds new friends amongst the humans and the animals, including the mage Numair Salmalin who undertakes her magical instruction and becomes her mentor. Not too long after her arrival, Tortall breaks into war against the kingdom of Carthak, and the enemy unleashes all manner of monsters and ogres and magical creatures, and Daine finds her hands full trying to deal with them, using her own brand of wild magic. In the third book, there is a brief cease-fire where Daine visits Carthak on a peace mission. This brings her face to face with true evil in the form of the Carthaki Emperor mage Ozorne.

When the final book opens, Tortall and its allies find a major war on their hands as the magical barrier separating the Divine Realms from the world of the humans is broken, and suddenly Tortall is overrun with monsters like hurroks (winged horses with teeth), and spidren (human heads on spider bodies) and other such nightmare creatures. Numair and Daine, out on a scouting mission, suddenly get pulled into the Divine Realms, the home of the gods and the immortals. Here, Daine learns some unsettling facts about her parentage, and also comes to learn about the gods' own war with their sibling Chaos, which mirrors the turmoil on the earthly plains below. The series comes to an explosive end with grand battles, fast-paced action, and nail-biting suspense.

For this book, Pierces borrows heavily from popular mythology and biblical references. The realm of the gods is loosely fashioned after Valhalla, and the whole divine war reads like all those Omen-style books about the coming of the Antichrist. While the series started out as a child's teething-text for fantasy, the conclusion is definitely an adult read, and a fairly entertaining one at that.

By Sabrina F Ahmad



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