Three evenings of glamour, oomph and panache; the best of the best amongst our local designers, participants from various Asian countries; and some of the most promising new faces on the scene right at this moment—made up the razzle-dazzle that set the TRESemmé Bangladesh Fashion Week 2019 apart.
One can only hope that the fashion connoisseurs of Dhaka did not miss what took place between 23 February and 25 February, 2019 at the International Convention City, Bashundhara.
As models walked the ramp with grace and sensuality, sometimes draped in the serene tranquillity of soft colours and gentle tones, punctuated with vivid hues here and there, and at times, wrapped in power and all the zeal of life, the A-list crowd witnessed a run down fashion aisles, which, beyond doubt, was the most flamboyant fashion show in recent memory.
The event, organised by TRESemmé, in partnership with Fashion Design Council of Bangladesh (FDCB), gave a platform for haute couture from seasoned maestros, designers who have aced the balance between heritage looms, retro vibes, and modern twists, to fashion-renegades going wild with euphoric expressions of their bubbling youth that could only be showcased within the vast premise that was the Fashion Week.
For those just tuning in, let's break down the proceedings of the gala event into some bite-sized pieces.
DAY ONE: THE BUILD-UP
With queue #1 of TRESemmé Bangladesh Fashion Week 2019, Afroza Parveen of RED Beauty Parlour & Salon re-examined the power of hairstyling in creating the persona of a woman; it gave the gala event a scintillating start.
Hair defines the face, and the queue had ladies in sassy red, adding the oomph factor, walking up and down the runway. And as Jannatul Ferdoush Peya, the brand ambassador of TRESemmé Bangladesh, made her way through the smoke screened entrance for the catwalk, the ramp was buzzing—a forecast of an event that would live up to its promised hype.
As a designer committed to promote indigenous textile of West Bengal, India, Banerjee redefined the aesthetic beauty of fabrics with drapes and colour blocking that seemed to have become her forte.
As for the attires, Banerjee toyed with saris, lehengas, kurtis, dresses, and panjabis. Her approach was simple enough, fusing ideas and turning familiar lehengas into skirts, and the choli into short tunics, and using the dupatta as stoles.
If there is any truth to “opposites attract,” Banerjee took it to a new level with her astute use of colour, brushed from the opposite ends of the colour wheel — chiroshokha?
If the art of colour-blocking ever needed a champion, fashion has found one in Paromita Banerjee.
TRESemmé Bangladesh Fashion Show 2019 saw fashion icon Humaira Khan revisit one of her favourite themes — the rainbow. To Humaira Khan, the colours of the rainbow are the colours of life. The interpretation of the seven-colour palette was meticulously executed on the satins, the muslins, and the linens.
The entire collection, spiked with a riot of colours, awed the audience, especially because of the prowess of her imagination which brought order to such a wide range of colours.
RIFAT REZA RAKA
Known more for the cuts rather than the fabric or the colour, Riffat Reza Raka continued to delve further into her forte as she presented a line heavy on sartorial dexterity. Mainly done in earthy hues, the range had a strong oriental feel, fused with almost every facet of fashion that we claim as our own. And the end result was a brilliant creation that playfully blends myriad cuts and styles, without diverting an inch away from the chosen colour.
Almost all the designs showcased had an interesting connection with the geometric aspect of kites, another feature that binds our local culture with that of the orient, a connection that was written all over Rifat Reza Raka's collection.
The grandeur of peacock has a historic association with the Rajputs, and the great Mughals — both known for their patronage of art and aesthetics. Zardozi is one of the embellishing techniques mastered in Mughal Lucknow, and couturier Sarah Karim is without any doubt our most celebrated exponent in using zardozi on silk — the making of intricate designs using gold and silver threads, along with studded pearls and precious and semi-precious stones.
The central motif of the entire design and the colours used were turquoise, amber green, and purple — hues borrowed from the feathers of a graceful peacock. The dresses that made the ensemble click are all familiar grounds for Karim — lehengas, kaftans, coatees complemented with pencil pants, and of course, shararas.
Wheel of Nature
It was an ode to nature, and an amalgamation of her comfort zone to varied style frontiers. Through her line, Sadia Mishu presented a flow of life, the first breath — shades of green; to the last, presented in hues of grey. But while contrasting this linear progression, she ceaselessly deconstructed forms creating some of the best high-fashion items in the show. Working with muslin, cotton, traditional motifs and patterns, Sadia Mishu's gowns, kurtis, saris and tunics captured moments of life with euphoria.
EZMAT NAZ RIMA
For reasons perhaps none can explain, men and women in uniform are high on the style quotient. For centuries, military fashion has infiltrated our wardrobe, with bomber jackets, jumpsuits, and trench coats; but fusing military fashion with ethnic wear was truly a test of the imagination, and boy she did well! Fusing anarkali, kurta, and sari with elements of the military in shades of khaki and black was a treat to the eyes. Rima has as history of working with heritage weaves. This time, she went from floral to militaria, and back to floral again!
As far as fusion and future fashion is concerned, Rima turned some heads with the way she blended the appeal of the uniform to the elegance of nature we find around us.
If street smart fashion is what you were looking for, Musarrat Rahman delivered that, and some more. While designers take heritage loom and give it a contemporary look, Musarrat dared to accomplish the exact opposite.
Drawing influence not just from the bleeding edge of art, music and technology, she is inspired by Bangladeshi, as was evident in her use of the 'run stitch' — one of the signatures of kantha stitch on pants, and tunics.
It was quite clear that Musarrat appeals to a geographically diverse consumer base; to her — 'the future is inclusive' and a melting pot of ideas — The Factory, social responsibility, neon colours, tradition; the whole nine yards!
It was an ensemble of gowns in all their glory, and cocktail dresses that can take styling one step up. But it was truly the traditional Maldivian dress, red…red…red, and a chunk of golden jewellery that made its mark. Shamla's venture into the uncharted was a boon for fashion, and the extravagant gowns draped in a variety of forms, frills and pleats-- haute couture at its best.
Having a background in fine arts, Lipi Khandaker perhaps treats fabric as her canvas, but not at the TRESemmé Bangladesh Fashion Week 2019.
Primarily using exotic silk and khadi in a range of brown shades, Lipi made best use of prints, embroidery, tie n' dye, and to top it all — an exquisite execution of textured pleats that made almost every other piece flowing; as if they were alive. As a designer Lipi Khandaker is grounded to her roots, and this time her collection was an intimate dialogue between wind and soil.
Nepalese fashion house, The Kallisto Designs, is the brainchild of Anu Shreshtha; no stranger to Bangladeshi socialites who nurture a flair for handcrafted, wearable art.
Always inspired by the infinite diversity of Himalayan flora and everything Nepalese, Shrestha produced some brilliant attires, hand-painted on pure silk — her forte that has brought success to the designer in creating a niche market.
Yet, that was not all that came from the land of the Himalayas. Her designs also presented the glorious history of her country, and their national identity which they are so proud of.
DAY #2: THE CRESCENDO
Still tuned in? Great!
The second evening could rightfully be called the most eclectic of the three day event. Once again, queue #1 was a dazzling showcase of hairstyles, this time with renowned stylist Kaniz Almas at the helm and TRESemmé Bangladesh Fashion Week 2019 rolled onto the second day, stylish ladies in green-- a befitting start.
FARAH ANJUM BARI
When Elements Collide
Wind; Water; Soil!
The soft shades had a soothing effect, and the saris, shrugs, stola inspired dresses and frilled gowns were made from hues taken from base elements. Her fascination for texture seemed to represent the earth; the pleats, frills, the flowy dresses were brushed by the cool breeze, and the presence of water was felt through the strokes of colour, brought to life with tie n' dye techniques, complemented with embroidery.
Electric, eccentric and a stunner, Shahrukh Amin moved his pawns at all the right places, and without any breather, continued to engage in a brisk game of lightning chess that can only be life itself. He played the gambit, and it truly was, checkmate!
The colours, the patched fabrics, and floral embroidery done on chequered canvases was eyecandy and the beat of the accompanying music had the audience shaken, and tapping their feet with the beat.
It was high fashion that did not seem extravagant and left a lingering effect, not only till the end of his slot, but the evening itself.
Her line took the audience on a ride back to the days of their childhood. Simplicity marked every outfit that is now considered 'in' on the local fashion scene.
Afsana's theme — childhood — was evident through needlework, embroidery and other accents in the apparent simplicity of a child's line drawing executed on the anchaals of saris, the loose tops, tunics, and dresses. Men walked the ramp geared in jackets, and panjabis with equal flair, which too marked the charm of growing up.
The overwhelming shade — green, blue, and everything in between was topped with contrasting hues ranging in the monochrome — white to off-white! The entire queue was marked with the glee of innocence, and the showstopper seemed like a sprite dancing in the fervour that we so fondly attach with 'shoishob.'
Indigo has a charm. Its story is steeped into our history and as Sukajit forwarded, our favourite holiday destination seems to have a certain claim on it too. The accomplished Thai designer is part of a family that was instrumental in reviving the indigenous dyeing technique, and is carrying the torch as the fourth generation designer to have worked solely with century-old techniques, devoid of any touch of modern machinery.
Her creation was more of a blend between traditional Thai costumes and other western garbs, and not a fusion in the simplest sense. As far as creativity goes, Sukajit ceaselessly followed whatever is quintessentially her own, and heartily embraced elements that she felt pairs
A line that had a slow start progressed and gradually built a connection with the audience with the concept— environment and our social responsibility towards it.
Fashion stood silent, as style took over. The individuality made the props redundant as the fabric, the colours, and the layers and drapes conveyed what Faiza had in mind.
Chic, ready-to-wear; the entire ensemble had tranquillity written all over, so much so that one could almost connect to the primordial deities.
As far as diversity is concerned, this queue was the one that all could relate to. Faiza used colours that are wearable, the attires were to die for, and the elegant draping too shall serve as inspiration for fashionistas to follow — without any shred of doubt!
Paribibi. Lalbag Kella
This was hardly a walk down the annals of history. On the contrary, borrowing inspiration from the great Mughals and their aesthetics, Rupo Shams delivered a collection that comprised of neon and other colours, accentuated with brilliant works of zardozi, and zari. The frilled sari borders, the sharp cut tops and palazzos, with complementing long coats — these were the highlights.
The Occult Mind
If there was one rebel amidst the esteemed designers, a renegade, a zeitgeist, if you may, Tasfia Ahmed would be it. The high voltage queue presented high fashion, often presenting an outlandish Joe amidst an average crowd, or someone back from the future. The neon shades; colour blocking done to perfection, it was truly what it was meant to be — the construction of something mystical and almost supernatural, giving rise to some unpreceded electrifying moments.
And as the emcee called her onto the stage, she brisk-walked down the ramp radiating confidence. If Tasfia Ahmed and her line ever needed a showstopper, it was Tasfia herself!
It was through the silk trade that the world came to know of sericulture, and countries that share a border with China have, over centuries, developed their own techniques in silk production. Kencho's entire showcase was focused on the indigenous textiles of Bhutan. While her fabrics, colours, and motifs were taken from everyday life, the attires themselves seemed to have a life beyond the Himalayan nation.
The finesse of designs in gold thread, the texture and the pattern of the lavish silk, and the unique Bhutanese Buray, also a silk, just hinted on the level of diversity that exists even within countries that were once all part of the ancient silk trade.
Lines of Melody
If blue ever seemed fashion obvious, naysayer Shaibal Saha would have you convinced otherwise. At the TRESemmé Bangladesh Fashion Week 2019, Saha had other things in mind. The entourage walking down the ramp revealed his creative genius, lines of melody composed in simple blacks, and whites.
The black geometric shapes on white; and its contrasting opposite — white on black, was the soul of the collection. Saha made use of prints, embroidery, and myriad stitching techniques to breathe life to his creation.
Lines of Melody oozed chic feminine grace, and chivalrous elegance that one thinks of when the two words —black and white— are put together. Without a doubt this was truly the crowning queue of the proceedings of the day.
She is a designer from India, who disdainfully rejects the term contemporary; to her, the word is oft repeated to the extent that it has ceased to have any meaning. She expresses herself through her design and produces wearable ensembles that can create a conversation between her and the clientele she designs for.
The colours that she used were varied, as was the style. However, no matter how scornfully she rejects terms, her designs are a true testament of current vibes and how people want to look, wearing what they want to wear!
Day 3: THE FINALE
The razzle-dazzle had reached the penultimate hours, but not without a section of hair styling by the celebrated stylist Farzana Shakil. And one final walk down the ramp by the gorgeous Peya!
The audience got a feel of his outlandish line, which profusely fused elements of textiles, basketry, fibres, ceramics, wood, and stone. His work on eco-textiles like silk; ikkat; natural dye; backstrap loom weaving; wood block; hand printed scarves, stoles and wraps created ensembles that narrated a saga of the diverse cultures that is Malaysia, and essentially everything Sarawak.
The befitting entrée of the third evening was a showcase by the Malaysian designer, and his profuse use of capes, shrugs, ponchos, and downright whacky headdresses to top it all up, is what made him shine.
She is one of the most accomplished designers of the country, and known for her attires that can more aptly be described as wearable art, rather than ready-to-wear. This time her entire collection was built on the movements of fabrics, as they wave in the wing.
She had a unique approach to styling, a twist in the drapes creating a range that took hues from the thousands of female RMG workers we see commuting on the streets of Dhaka. The entire range was 'colour perfect' if there is any such term, as she skilfully created a line — street smart, perhaps street chic, but relaxed.
It was an evening of prêt-à-porter, and an hour for the Bangladeshi designers. Haque's minimalist approach to fashion was evident in the line, which saw shalwar kameezs, and dresses in soothing whites, embellished with embroidery, and patchwork in colours of life — green, red, yellow. The subtle shades of grey, or ravishing black, also had their place, as that too is very part of life, and none can do without black — when it comes to fashion.
The way to our hearts is through the stomach, and in a brilliant ensemble, Maria Sultana, spiked the runways with attires done on the theme of herbs. Often spicy and sexy, at times a little sweet, and at times somewhat sour — the entourage was a brilliant execution of a work done based on an intangible theme like taste and spice.
Grow with Me
In the cycle of life, every organism grows around nature, an ecosphere that binds everything in perfect harmony. Fashion is possibly no different.
Using only 'deshi' products, natural dyes to recreate the luscious greenery of Bengal, the mustard yellow of Spring, the vibrant reds — these are what made Chandana Dewan's approach the highlight of a night were truly ready-to-wear was the dominating style.
Colours, cuts, and accessorising — all done in signature Dewan!
Aura of Dusk
He is new, and so are his creations!
With little attempt to blend East and West, or create fusion — he delved deep into the realms of the creation of denim, and made an excellent showcase by using the proverbial fabric to create dresses that one could seriously consider buying, and wearing in everyday life.
The coats, the coatees, the pants — this was an ode to the quintessential fashion fabric that has a humble beginning in the mines of California, and now has taken over the world.
He is unabashedly Indonesian, and likes to present himself as a nationalist designer. Perhaps, he can more aptly be termed as a performer who's designs — ethnic in all its forms, colours, cuts and size, match his prowess as a singer! As the catwalk was underway, he moved up and down the ramp, lip-syncing of course, but the energy of the entire line and additional fun factor did much to enliven an evening that some found heavy on simplicity.
There was nothing simple about this!
Pakistani fashion is known for heavy embellishments, bejewelled accessory, bright colours, grace, and elegance. Samee is a veteran designer who has the experience to produce a dazzling queue that would enchant even the harshest of critics.
Her luxury line was a display of brilliant craftsmanship and would certainly serve as perfect bridal wear, for those who prefer to step into the brighter, heavier end of wedding attires.
If there was any, KT Brown would certainly be it — urban chic! Perfect for cocktails, every dress was made from a single monochrome fabric, where the texture of the fabrics — the fall, its weight, and the suppleness, became the dominating factor. The focus here was simply on the cut and the drape, yet results were stunners.
As the concluding line of the entire event, Maheen Khan was retrospective, drawing inspiration from the glory days of medieval Bengal, the era of the Bengal Sultans. Her inspiration was primarily in the execution of the theme on fabrics through a finesse of needlework, but the colours that she used as the backdrop were truly en vogue, in pastel shades.
TRESemmé Bangladesh Fashion Week 2019 did not end with an outrageous bang, but on a soothing melody of colours — Prêt-à-Porter at their very best. The event started with Paromita Banerjee, essentially ready-to-wear, and ended on a high note through the works of Maheen Khan. The three-day event was chequered with an exchange of ideas amongst designers, and as for the audience, it was treat to see various cultures of Asia and their influence on fashion.
Photo: TRESemmé Bangladesh Fashion Week 2019
FDCB Fashion Fair Spring 2019
Fashion Design Council of Bangladesh (FDCB) organised a Fashion Fair on the first and second of March, 2019. The event took place at Gardenia Grand Hall, Gulshan 2 (House 8, Road 51) from 11:00 am – 8:00 pm. The two-day event showcased the collections from the country's renowned fashion designers. The Fashion Fair title sponsor was The City Bank Ltd in association with IPAB. The event featured designers like Emdad Haque, Kuhu Plamondon, Chandana R Dewan, Maria Sultana, Rifat Rahman, Maheen Khan, Humaira Khan, Rifat Reza Raka, Sarah Karim, Sadiya Mishu, Ezmat Naz Rima, Mussarat Rahman, Lipi Khandker, Farah Anjum Bari, Shahrukh Amin, Afsana Ferdausi, Faiza Ahmed, Rupo Shams, Tasfia Ahmed, and Shaibal Shaha.
The FDCB is a non-profit organisation engaged in activities for the advancement of the design industry of the country. The aim of FDCB is to put the designs of Bangladesh on a platform where they could learn from the experience and also share the rich and complex designs with the people of the nation.
FDCB advocates for not only the great looks but also to connect their ideas with both the folk and traditional designs of Bangladesh. Through this Fashion Fair, FDCB wanted to create a bond of collaboration with the designers and the prolific creative industry.