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‘Noche de Muertos’ comes to life

The fall of the Aztec empire to the Spanish conquistadores in the grand metropolis of Tenochtitlán back in 1521 is rumored to have started with the Aztec leader Moctezuma.

Hernán Cortés, the Spanish leader who was supported by indigenous allies and his interpreter and companion, La Malinche was successful in carrying out numerous battles between the Aztec empire and his forces. But no battle in the Americas changed the course of history like the siege of Tenochtitlán, which led to the devastation of the Aztec population and the end of an era and reign of its last Aztec leader Moctezuma.

His death and that thousands of Aztecs led to the destruction of the civilization.

For centuries, this story of conquest has been read in history books.

Last week, that story was revisited by Calidanza Dance Company in its new production ‘Noche de Muertos’ (Night of the Dead), whose Mexican folk and contemporary dance ensembles along with a touch of creative theatrics brought the encounter between the Aztecs and the Spaniards back to life at the Crocker Art Museum.

The sound of beating drums and the harmonious flute set the mood for the night’s spectacle last Thursday evening, highlighting the popular Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration which originated in the Ámericas from indigenous populations where the deceased are remembered and their lives celebrated.

“Whenever we think of the story of Moctezuma, we never stop to think of the fall of an empire and the result of his death and an entire civilization. These are, in a way, our ancestors who have passed away and whom we must honor,” said Steven Valencia, Artistic Director for Calidanza Dance Company.

At a sold-out venue at the Crocker Art Museum, Calidanza displayed the tug-of-war between two powerful men: Hernán Cortés and Moctezuma; and two strong peoples in the struggle for power: the Spanish and the Aztecs.

It also displayed the root of the problem: a dance-off between La Malinche, who is considered a traitor by some, a victim by others, but mostly, the symbolic mother of a new Mexican people.

The new dance titled ‘Moctezuma’ was created by Valencia and meant to highlight the late emperors reign who viciously fought against the blow of the Spanish crown.

“Because of Day of the Dead and its significance, it is important to not just recognize the lives of those who have passed like our loved ones, but those who came long before us and are a result of our existence,” said Valencia.

On a stage platform, guests watched as images of an ancient México glimmered in the background of the dances. After Moctezuma’s death, a two-member ensemble Orgullo Regional strung their guitar strings and sang traditional Mexican music between each of Calidanza’s ensembles.

Following Moctezuma’s death, the stage turned into a runway as nearly a dozen ‘Calavera Catrinas’ reminiscent of the zinc etchings made by the famous Mexican printmaker, cartoon illustrator and lithographer José Guadalupe Posáda graced the stage with authentic, glamorous and detailed costumes made by local, award-winning designer Rory Castillo.

The long dresses and large-brimmed hats capture a long history.

The original image of La Catrina was a female skeleton dressed only in a hat befitting of the upper class outfits sported by Europeans. At the turn of the 20th century in México, the image was used in a leaflet describing a person who was ashamed of their indigenous origins and dressed to imitate the French style while wearing heavy makeup in order to make their skin look lighter.

La Catrina eventually earned the nickname garbancera which was given to people of indigenous ancestry who imitated European style and denied their own cultural heritage.

“Rory has always been a very big supporter of the arts and of Calidanza. His creativity and imagination in creating these one-of-a-kind pieces and costumes for this and other productions have added enormously to the essence of our dances,” said Valencia.

The one-hour show also included the ‘Danza de Venado’ (Deer Dance), a struggle between the hunter and the hunted, a sacred dance from the Yaqui Indíans of Sonora, México which reflects their relationship with nature. The dance is a re-staging by Amalía Hernández of the Ballet Folkloríco de México.

The show concluded with a magical ‘Noche de Muertos’ ensemble where the indigenousMictlantecuhtli (God of the Dead) and Michlancihuatl (goddess of the underworld) convey the process that one may go through in reaching the underworld where some lives are reincarnated and special ones are lifted by the gods into Miclan (underworld).

In pre-Hispanic times, the ‘day of the dead’ was celebrated for a month and believed to have taken place in August. Valencia believes the growing popularity of Día de los Muertos across the Sacramento region and the strong presence of Calidanza is allowing for a deeper appreciation of Mexican culture.

“It’s really beautiful to see people ask questions about this specific holiday and the celebrations in general. There is a lot of curiosity and I do enjoy educating and informing those who come to the shows,” said Valencia.

His most recent production tried to shy away from the traditional folkloric dances and incorporate new dances with more theatrical elements. Seeing the response from the public was rewarding, he said.

“Seeing entire families enjoy a night out to celebrate Día de los Muertos and many other events growing dramatically across the country makes it a great opportunity to show those who are unaware of the celebration, the beauty and history of our culture,” said Valencia.Read more at:backless formal dresses | one shoulder formal dresses

Another Award Show

This weekend saw the latest entry to Pakistan’s entertainment industry’s already long list of award shows, except that this entire evening celebrated and acknowledged style and glamour. The evening brought many celebrities under one roof – cricketers such as Shahid Afridi and Wasim Akram, style and fashion gurus such as Rizwan Beyg and Tariq Amin, along with many other notable names in film, fashion and music as well.

Opening the show with an electrifying performance were Ahmed Ali, Meesha Shafi and Umair Jaswal in a cabaret style musical, a specialty of the choreographer of the evening Nida Butt, who has many musicals to her name. All three performers mesmerized the audience with their dance as well as singing skills. Nida Butt’s choreography really stood out: one could tell that the dance performances weren’t your average Bollywood-esque masala dance moves. However, not every performer was able to execute the moves as well but it was a welcome change from what we usually see.

The first half of the awards, hosted by the multi-talented Ahmed Ali and the beautiful Ayesha Omar, started off with the fashion categories in which Amna Babar and Shehzad Noor won the Best Model Awards. Shahbaz Shazi won the Fashion Photographer award amid stiff competition from other strong contenders such as Abdullah Harris, Nadir Feroz Khan and Guddu Shani.

Taking the award for Designer of the Year – Demi Couture was Shehla Chatoor, who was also the only fashion designer, nominated for three fashion awards.

“First of all, I’m honoured to even be considered by such a platform. It takes a lot of sweat and tears to reach this position. There are no shortcuts in the fashion industry,” Chatoor told Instep. Khadijah Shah was also a popular name of the night as she collected two awards: Designer of the Year – Lawn for Elan and Retail Brand of the Year for Sapphire. Faraz Manan won Best Designer in the bridal category while Hanan Siddiqui picked up the award for Best Hair and Makeup.

The evening didn’t forget to acknowledge our stylish cricketers: Shahid Afridi won the Most Stylish Sporting Personality while Wasim Akram won the Style Icon award. Special awards were given to two names who have really shaped the industry with their work, Bunto Kazmi and Nabila, who were awarded for Excellence in the Field of Designing and Styling, respectively.

The otherwise long duration of the show was shortened by some high adrenaline performances, with Hasan Sheheryar Yasin leading the race as he was joined on stage by Anoushey Ashraf, Zhalay Sarhadi and Sonya Hussain as they danced to the memorable beats of some of our legends such as Alamgir, Nazia Hassan and Sajjad Ali. It was absolutely thrilling to see Pakistani music dominating the stage. Later, Ali Zafar took the stage to sing a mash-up of his hit numbers such as ‘Voh Dekhnay Mein’ and ‘Jhoom’. A hot favourite of the stage, Sohai Abro joined the singer as both of them danced to other Ali Zafar numbers. Other performers on stage included Saba Qamar and Zahid Ahmed, and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, who had the audience cheering with his rendition of ‘Afreen Afreen.’ Momina Mustehsan was missed.

Flying in all the way from Canada was viral sensation Zaid Ali T who took the stage to perform a hilarious one man show, poking fun at his usual suspects: desi aunties who can’t stop bragging about their children’s non-existent achievements.

The second part of the evening was hosted by the charming Adnan Malik and the phenomenal Aamina Sheikh who tried to keep the audience awake till the wee hours of the night with various segments, such as the film critic section where they made fun of all the major film releases of this past year.

It was also announced that the show organizers will be involved in producing a film festival that will take place next year. No further details were given.

The evening ended in at unpleasantly late hour, as award shows usually do, and was ironically low on style and glamour, as most award shows have become of recent. But it did manage to deliver an entertaining evening that, if continued every year, will give the Lux Style Awards stiff competition in the future.Read more at:formal dresses 2016 | bridesmaid dresses

Trend Guide: How to fold a bandana

I was two weeks in and still hadn’t gotten the swing of this New York City thing. I was in town for my dream internship last summer, but I wondered: did I look the part of a savvy New Yorker?

Inspiration came one morning when I saw a stylish, tall, blonde woman on the subway taking her bandana off from around her neck and tying it to her bag. I always wondered how to work these bandanas and the most fashionable ways to wear them.

It hit me: this was a trend that could make me the New Yorker I longed to be.

I marched over to Zara off Broadway and Spring Street and bought myself my very first bandana. Once I got to my loft in the middle of TriBeCa I still had one problem: How do I make this colorful piece of fabric work?

I wasn’t the only person interested in the trend. Bandanas were everywhere last summer. And they could be seen on some runways during the recent New York Fashion Week. The show that got the most buzz for the look was Gigi Hadid’s Fall collaboration with Tommy Hillfiger.

There are several places to purchase a bandana, whether you are willing to break the bank or pinch some pennies.

“I think it’s cool that bandanas are back in style, it was always one of my favorite accessories as a kid,” art history major Tala Duwaji said. “I love that I can pull out my old stuff and reuse them in different ways. It just adds a cool pop of print.”

Why wear a bandana?

If you’re wearing all denim or all white and throw on a bandana and knot it around your neck or bag, you effortlessly add life to a dull outfit.

After admiring from afar and watching the trend grow on the daily, I learned five ways to tie this accessory:

1. Tie as a sailor knot

First fold scarf into triangle piece. Then continue to fold until thin, flat, long tie. Later, place scarf around neck and make sure both sides match in length. Finally, knot three/fourths of the end.

2. Tie as a choker

First fold scarf into triangle piece. Then continue to fold until thin, flat long tie. Later place scarf around neck with ends towards the back of your neck. Wrap the ends around to the front and tie knot. Rotate tied chocker so knot is facing back of your neck.

3. Tie as an arm scarf

First fold scarf into triangle piece. Then continue to fold until thin, flat long tie. Place scarf under wrist with ends face up. Continue to wrap around wrist until ends meet to knot.

4. Tie as a backpack scarf

First fold scarf into triangle piece. Then continue to fold until thin, flat long tie. Put scarf in the middle of strap. Wrap evenly on each side. Make sure to knot ends to be even on both ends of strap.

5. Tie as a tote scarf

First fold scarf into triangle piece. Knot ends around bag strap on both ends.Read more at:http://www.marieaustralia.com/evening-dresses | http://www.marieaustralia.com/cocktail-dresses

Carven parts ways with womenswear designers

French house Carven has become the latest brand to part company with its designers. Alexis Martial and Adrien Caillaudaud, who were joint artistic directors of its womenswear business, have left “by mutual agreement” Carven confirmed in a statement today.

The pair had only joined the business in March 2015. They met while studying at the Atelier Chardon Savard fashion school in Paris and both went on to work for Givenchy (though Caillaudaud first designed footwear for Marc Jacobs).

Just prior to joining Carven, however, Martial had been with Iceberg and Caillaudaud had been consulting with Tod’s and Jil Sander. The SS17 collection shown last month in Paris will be their last for house.

They had replaced Guillaume Henry who is now at Nina Ricci. Henry was credited with resurrecting the then dormant house, which was founded by Marie Louise Carven in 1945. Carven herself passed away at the age of 105 in June last year.

The Bluebell Group took a majority stake in Carven in May of this year, having held a minority stake since 2011. Shortly afterwards it put Carven’s menswear line on ice and parted ways with its menswear designer Barnabé Hardy who had only been with the business for 18 months, prior to which he worked for Balenciaga.

Bluebell is a Hong Kong-based, family owned company that distributes fashion, fragrance, food and home brands throughout Asia, including UGG, Dior, Zadig & Voltaire, Moschino, Paul Smith and Jimmy Choo. It was founded in 1954.

The move is the latest in a long line of changes at the top of a major fashion houses. Just this month Roberto Cavalli parted ways with creative director Peter Dundas and last week it was confirmed that Marni founder Consuelo Castiglioni was stepping away from the business to be replaced by Francesco Risso. The brand confirmed Risso’s arrival in an Instagram post today.Read more at:cheap formal dresses australia | http://www.marieaustralia.com/evening-dresses

What does ‘Joanne’ mean for Lady Gaga’s career?

Lady Gaga’s latest gimmick: just being herself.

The metamorphic pop star (born Stefani Germanotta) has forged a career out of infectious dance anthems, eccentric characters and attention-seeking stunts, from her notorious meat dress at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards to her lavish “eggmobile” at the 2011 Grammys.

But by the time she trotted out a flying dress and vomiting painter to promote her 2013 album, Artpop, the public had grown weary of her antics. The critically derided effort sold 1.4 million copies, according to Nielsen Music, making it her worst-selling solo album to date. (By comparison, her next lowest seller, 2011’s Born This Way, moved 3.8 million.)

Which may be why with fifth album Joanne (out Friday), Gaga, 30, has scaled back the pageantry and doubled down on authenticity: naming it for her late aunt, donning slightly more modest ensembles (T-shirts, denim shorts and cowgirl hats) and showcasing her newly countrified sound at intimate dive bar shows.

“She’s an artist who’s in transformation and really looking to explore other things,” says David Bakula, Nielsen Entertainment’s senior vice president of analytics. “Look at the outfits she wears; look at the different personas that she’s had. She’s always pushing the edge of creativity.”

With Artpop, “she had gotten so drunk off her own Kool-Aid,” says Billboard senior editor Jem Aswad. “It seemed like she was believing a lot of her own hype and there was pressure to top herself. She is still a megastar, but bringing her down a peg and a little closer to earth are positive things for her long-term career.”

Her reinvention started back in 2014 with Cheek to Cheek, a jazz duets album with Tony Bennett, and continued into 2015 with a showstopping The Sound of Music medley at theAcademy Awards. She has since won a Golden Globe for best actress in a limited series for FX’s American Horror Story: Hotel, earned a best-original-song Oscar nomination, honoredDavid Bowie at the Grammys and sang the national anthem at the Super Bowl, which she’ll headline Feb. 5.

Lady Gaga’s latest gimmick: just being herself.

The metamorphic pop star (born Stefani Germanotta) has forged a career out of infectious dance anthems, eccentric characters and attention-seeking stunts, from her notorious meat dress at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards to her lavish “eggmobile” at the 2011 Grammys.

But by the time she trotted out a flying dress and vomiting painter to promote her 2013 album, Artpop, the public had grown weary of her antics. The critically derided effort sold 1.4 million copies, according to Nielsen Music, making it her worst-selling solo album to date. (By comparison, her next lowest seller, 2011’s Born This Way, moved 3.8 million.)

Which may be why with fifth album Joanne (out Friday), Gaga, 30, has scaled back the pageantry and doubled down on authenticity: naming it for her late aunt, donning slightly more modest ensembles (T-shirts, denim shorts and cowgirl hats) and showcasing her newly countrified sound at intimate dive bar shows.

“She’s an artist who’s in transformation and really looking to explore other things,” says David Bakula, Nielsen Entertainment’s senior vice president of analytics. “Look at the outfits she wears; look at the different personas that she’s had. She’s always pushing the edge of creativity.”

With Artpop, “she had gotten so drunk off her own Kool-Aid,” says Billboard senior editor Jem Aswad. “It seemed like she was believing a lot of her own hype and there was pressure to top herself. She is still a megastar, but bringing her down a peg and a little closer to earth are positive things for her long-term career.”

Her reinvention started back in 2014 with Cheek to Cheek, a jazz duets album with Tony Bennett, and continued into 2015 with a showstopping The Sound of Music medley at theAcademy Awards. She has since won a Golden Globe for best actress in a limited series for FX’s American Horror Story: Hotel, earned a best-original-song Oscar nomination, honoredDavid Bowie at the Grammys and sang the national anthem at the Super Bowl, which she’ll headline Feb. 5.

“If she hadn’t done Cheek to Cheek (or) American Horror Story, she’d be in a much worse position,” Aswad says. “There’s a lot riding on (Joanne), and if it’s even just good and not great, she can look at it as launching the next phase of her career. How that next phase starts depends on this.”

Which is where Gaga could hit a stumbling block. Despite admirable, if not rapturous, reviews from critics, snarling first single Perfect Illusion made its debut at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart last month and has since plummeted to No. 95. Promotional track Million Reasons, released earlier this month, started at No. 76 and has sold a mere 15,000 downloads.

Both songs are a vast departure from the imaginative pop she honed on 2008’s The Fame and 2009’s The Fame Monster. Illusion is a disco/alt-rock hybrid co-written with Mark Ronson andTame Impala’s Kevin Parker, while Reasons is a country-tinged ballad written with Nashville songwriter Hillary Lindsey.

“It’s challenging when an artist changes the sound,” Bakula says. “You have a longstanding fan base that is going to come and get it very early. But once you get past the first week of album sales, that’s when you’re really developing the new fans. Is she now speaking to fans she wasn’t speaking to before?”

Joanne features other unexpected collaborators such as Beck, Florence Welch and Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, casting a wide net that could catch fans of other genres. But the music’s quality will ultimately determine long-term success.

“If this album’s good, she’s relaunched,” Aswad says. Illusion isn’t “as strong as some of her other songs, but it points in the right direction. I don’t think she’s going to alienate any fans with this that she didn’t already with Artpop. Even her more casual fans want to welcome her back.”Read more at:plus size formal dresses australia | cheap formal dresses australia

Designer Rebecca Morter exhibits at London Fashion Week

Rebecca Morter​ has gone from the farm to a world of fashion.

The former ACG Strathallan student, who grew up in Pukekohe, is now an international fashion designer with a store in London and her own fashion label.

Her rural upbringing was perfect grounding for such a career, she says.

“My childhood was spent feeding chickens, moving cattle and mucking out horses stalls … It taught me perseverance, dedication and hard work.”

Morter’s eye for design was evident at school where she received “top in the world” in the Cambridge design and technology papers.

She credits her teacher Matt Humber for “pushing” her to “try different things”.

This led her to starting her clothing company Rein last year after graduating from London College of Fashion.

Her designs have been worn by celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Cheryl Cole and her latest work has just featured on the runways of London Fashion Week.

Morter says she was always encouraged to follow her dreams.

“I’ve always been ambitious, I’ve always wanted to build something with my own stamp,” she says.

One of her best pieces of advice came to her while doing an internship for fashion designer Alexander Wang.

“When I told the design director I wanted to set up my own brand one day, he told me ‘You will get knocked down again and again, but you just have to keep getting back up’.”Read more at:formal dress shops | formal dresses

A case of race

Despite the increasing use of models from diverse ethnic backgrounds, ethnic minorities are still hugely under-represented in the fashion world. When they do appear, their presentation has often been troubling and damaging. The fetishism of black women (and men to a lesser extent) in mainstream culture is no novel notion. Black women have been seen as sexual objects since slavery, but the topic is no less relevant than today, with the callously carnal presentations of black women in fashion.

This presentation is nothing but a modern-day adaptation of the space that black women used to occupy in the 19th-century mindset as insatiable sexual beasts. According to the study ‘Stereotypes: Negative Racial Stereotypes and Their Effect on Attitudes Toward African-Americans’ by Laura Green, this association between black women and sex is represented by a biblical cliché: that of Jezebel, the idolatrous Israeli queen, usually associated with prostitution and sexual voracity.

These Jezebel stereotypes have been reinforced time and again in fashion: for example, Numéromagazine ran an editorial spread in 2009 called ‘Best Friends’, where black model R’el Dade appeared topless in every frame next to clothed white model Melodie Dagault. Dade was staged in a submissive sexual role where she rarely makes eye contact with the camera and is the sexual object. Her face is frequently masked in bondage-style headpieces and underwear of a similarly subordinate sexual inclination. Not only does this hyper-sexualisation hark back to the Jezebel stereotype, but the constricting garments she wears echo the historic subjugation of black people.

In 1979, People magazine interviewed Jean-Paul Goude, who has been the subject of much recent media scrutiny because of his explicit Paper photo shoot with Kim Kardashian, featuring full frontal nudity and her naked behind, intended to “break the Internet”. In the interview, Goude exposed a dark obsession with black women in his work. He was quoted stating that, from a very young age, he was captivated by “ethnic minorities – black girls. I had jungle fever.”

Goude capitalised on his “jungle fever” in the form of a highly controversial 1982 book of the same name, including the original picture that inspired the Kim Kardashian shoot. It also contains a piece with his then-girlfriend and muse, Grace Jones. One photograph portrayed her oiled and naked, in a cage, with a lump of raw meat and a sign reading ‘Do Not Feed the Animal’, another showed her again oiled and naked, and holding a safari whip around her neck with primitive tribal face paint and a third (you guessed it) oiled and naked, fighting her way out of a chocolate wrapper bearing her name. It does not take much to recognise the explicit references to colonial racial perceptions and degradation of black women in this spectacularly unsubtle set of pictures. And if you thought such flagrant fetishism of black women was a thing of the past, you could not be more wrong. The photographer Matt Doyle recreated the shoot with American model, actress, and fashion designer, Amber Levonchuck, better known as Amber Rose, for a 2009 issue of Complex magazine.

This racial objectification is not confined to women only; black men, too, have not been spared. Take for example the February/March 2011 cover of RUSSH Magazine, which featured Belgian model, Delfine Bafort, surrounded by a group of doting black men, who all appear to be lusting after her. While she is fully clothed, they are all naked. Examples of the objectification of black men are less frequent than for women, but they hold the same potency in terms of reinforcing colonial views of ethnic minorities.

While the incidences of questionable or demeaning use of black models appear to become, thankfully, less frequent, this remains a highly relevant and poignant issue in fashion. Only by recognising the dark past of ethnicity and fashion can we move on from it. The problem with racial stereotypes, such as the Jezebel archetype, is that their longevity is such that many believe them to be biologically inherited, rather than socially constructed. More recent manifestations of this unpleasant truth suggest that the fashion world still has a long way to go. Only when fashion photography champions beauty, innovation, form and style above considerations of race or racial tropes will we have reached a higher realm of art.Read more at:marieaustralia | bridesmaid dresses australia

Spinning a new idea

As a student at the National Institute of Design, David Abraham chose khadi for his diploma project. The designer, known for using simplest hand weaves to express complex ideas, is again using khadi for his women’s wear collection at the Amazon India Fashion Week this Thursday. Abraham wants to prove that khadi can have multiple identities. Its transformation from a ‘limited’ fabric to something vibrant and functional is in sync with the international look.

“This time it is very much an India story. I had interest in khadi right from my student days at NID. What is special about khadi is that it is spun into yarn by hand. The charkha is used. The process is slow but the end product is more beautiful than the machine spun yarn. Of course, khadi is more labour intensive; requires manual skills to get the texture but for me this is attractive for it is hand done and has a lot to do with sustainability,” says David.

While speaking at his studio in Noida, David ferrets out a gold skirt to illustrate his point. It is made of khadi but looks like a jazzy evening wear outfit to emphasise that David and his partner Rakesh Thakore can make the fabric versatile.

“Gold is all about bling, shininess. But this skirt is deceptive; nobody can make out that it is made of khadi. It is the blingiest outfit we have,” says Abraham known for his subtle style. “It is like a visual joke, tongue in cheek. Here we are playing with perception. This is a party wear but not over the top. The khadi we used here is rough So some part of the skirt has taken the print, some has not. That is the beauty of handmade look. We are showcasing how khadi can work with embroidery and appliqué.” ”

The duo handwriting makes their work distinct. “Our collection is very much about now. Story is about khadi for today’s generation. I am putting forward the idea that we can give khadi a new narrative. It can be built around mundu of Kerala or veshti of Tamil Nadu, which has narrow border. I am trying to make veshti popular among women here.”

The duo has taken softer pieces of khadi to make blouses and pants. “Khadi kurta will go with silk pyjama and khadi handbags. To show how khadi can look beautiful and not monotonous we have used large bold graphic pattern, simple lines and shapes,” says Abraham.

As it is a fragile fabric, one cannot do much embroidery on khadi.“But then this is the nature of the yarn. We have finest khadi woven in Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal. In Rajasthan there is coarse khadi which we have used on coats. We have made khadi beautiful with floral and geometric patterns. Calligraphy in Devnagiri is made to look decorative. We want to surprise everyone with our treatment .”

No discussion on khadi could be complete without Mahatma Gandhi. “In a sense, he showed us the direction which discerning fashion lovers are now following,” says Abraham. “Khadi would not have been where it is today without him. He made it into a political and economic statement. However, my collection is a tribute to all those anonymous hands spinning the yarn sitting in some village. Nobody looks at those unknown makers.”

Abraham wants people to understand the bigger message behind Gandhiji’s support for khadi.

“We need to appreciate that khadi is a shout out against industrialisation and fast fashion. Markets are flooded with Rs. 500 jeans, but are they sustainable?” he wonders.

It is hard not to draw parallels between Abraham’s collection and the ongoing debate on nationalism. “I am neither on the Right side nor on the Left; I am a centrist,” clarifies Abraham adding

the moment a designer showcases a collection on khadi, it is seen from the political perspective.

“Khadi has been associated with politicians and Swadeshi. All those connotations are not relevant in fashion. We are saying khadi is a beautiful fabric if seen from the perspective of fashion. It doesn’t have to do with saving the world, it can be used as an evening wear outfit or for wedding. It need not look serious all the time. It can be fun as well. We are trying to make khadi move into a space which is different.”

Khadi has its limitations as inconsistency in fabric and it can be a dampener. “I agree Khadi has complete inconsistency. Challenge for us, as designers, is to say that we accept it is as part of our life like organic eggs are smaller, brown bread has texture. We cannot have everything super smooth, superfine. With khadi we have to appreciate that it is made by hand. Luxury is not something made in a factory in China. Real luxury is something made by human hand, and India is a crucible for that.”

Gone are the days when designers used to compete with one another to showcase in fashion weeks abroad. David feels the future is in India. “We have been successful with couple of designers in Paris like Manish Arora and Rahul Mishra. But future is in India. See any economic survey, growth of fashion industry and the amount we sold in e-commerce, all numbers indicate that the biggest market is here.”Read more at:short formal dresses australia | long formal dresses

Women in chains kick off Australian Fashion Week

 

(Photo:evening gowns)Whether it be haute handcuffs, bondage chic or shackled style, renowned designer Toni Maticevski showed clothes that were total perfection.

And no doubt his exquisitely bejewelled accessories — stone-encrusted back jewels that cascaded to handcuffs and some unique ‘mouth’ jewels — will be derided by some and celebrated as ‘fashion art’ by others.

Designed by Ryan Storer, the jewels will certainly divide. But the Maticevski clothes — a designer often referred to as our Alexander McQueen equivalent — certainly won’t as he continues to become a bigger player on the local and international fashion circuit.

Maticevksi showed airy, voluminous pieces (that’s fashion speak for not-too-body-hugging) that included skirts, gowns and mighty sexy draped bustiers in shades of black, white, gold and power-packed shade of burnt yellow.

Judging by the reaction of the front row (aka the ‘frow’) it was one of his best collections yet. And the heels? Heaven for high-heel aficionados.

Having covered fashion collection for many years, I’ve seen how designers continue to grow. Or slow. And Maticevski is certainly NOT slowing down.

His attention to detail is second to none and even when the pieces are stripped away from their runway styling, yes, you would wear them. And that’s something in this world of ‘shock’ frocks.

Fashion, like film, music and all layers of pop culture has to be inventive and on top of the zeitgeist, otherwise it becomes so boring and bland that the likes of fashion weeks around the world may as well not exist.

This year, the Mercedes-sponsored Australian fashion week has grouped together days of designers who have similar aesthetics but are all attempting to sell their ‘resort’ collections to both local and international buyers and media.

For many years, some fashion weeks have been, quite frankly, a chance for a whole lot of posers to hang around for free champagne, hoping to be photographed by, well, whoever wanted to snap them.

Now, it is business. And whether that is a plethora of bloggers — the good, the bad and the narcissists — just taking shots of themselves in a zillion sponsored frock posts or whether serious 24/7 media and editors are just trying to get the job done to inform their readers, watchers and followers, the mood is much more measured and grown-up.

With Barangaroo’s Cutaway venue being the site of the first show from Maticevski, there did seem to be more posers outside the venue than I’ve seen for a long while — an extraordinary sandstone backdrop did make for genius Insta shots — but for many of the guests it was pure, business as usual.

Before the first and only show on day one, Mercedes hosted am extraordinary VIP lunch for the cream of the fashion pack as magazine editors from Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire and InStyle gathered as guests of the car brand to ‘do lunch’ before the show.

Delta Goodrem and Aussie-born Victoria’s Secret model Bridget Malcolm (now, a legit ubermodel) were my lunch companions, both into fashion and happy to be there.

“It’s just fantastic to support Australian design,” Delta told news.com.au.

“I’ve had many months with The Voice and it such a brilliant season on and off the set as well as my music of course, so it has been a really great and productive time,” the songstress added.

“I was really so happy to see Dami to do so well in Eurovision. Good on her! She was absolutely great.”

Interestingly, WA-born, obo-playing and newly engaged model Bridget Malcolm — who starred in the last Victoria’s Secret show and can count Ralph Lauren as a big client — admitted this week will be the first time she will actually SEE some fashion shows.

“I know that sounds weird, but you know I have never seen a fashion show?” she smiled as muted into her gluten-free, Shane Delia created lunch. (Message to self: gluten free could make us look as svelte as Bridget.)

Leading and innovative Paddington boutique Parlour X continued the fashion week Day One party, hosting an intimate dinner for 40 — well, it actually blew out to 72 — with names like Zara Wong, Lindy Klim, Nadia Farifax, Amanda Shadforth and Nancy Pilcher on the guest list.

Fashion week will continue at Sydney’s Carriageworks with shows from the likes of Ginger & Smart, byjohnny, Macgraw, Christopher Esber, Steven Khalil, Ten Pieces, Aje, Bianca Spender, Bec & Bridge and new labels from Pip Edwards (P.E.Nation) and another from her former partner Dan Single, who has designed a cool pyjama collection, P.Jame with his wife, Bambi Northwood-Blythe.

In the international stakes, Bella Hadid is in town to walk in just one show — Misha Collection on Monday- while the fashion buzz surrounds the label Georgia Alice, who shows Monday and as they in the biz, is definitely the name to watch.

Stay tuned …Read more at:Cheap Bridesmaid Dresses

Sirens of the Silver Screen cabaret pays homage to Hollywood icons

Sirens of the Silver Screen cabaret pays homage to Hollywood icons 

(Photo:Cheap Prom Dresses)On screen, they were Hollywood’s picture-perfect golden girls. But off screen, their struggles with fame proved their downfall. The most telling chapters of the lives of icons such as Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe will come to life in Sirens of the Silver Screen, a musical cabaret at Dubai Community Theatre & Arts Centre on Saturday.

Sirens on stage

Written and performed by ­Dubai-based British actress and singer Beth Burrows, the show is a part of Ductac Presents, a new community-theatre series launched to promote productions by resident artists.

Work on the project began in November, when Burrows found a quiet cafe in Dubai and spent two weeks unearthing and researching archived footage, photographs and interviews that would inspire her 75-­minute cabaret-style show chronicling the lives of the three leading ladies and the characters they immortalised.

“I wanted to try cabaret because it hasn’t been done here before,” says the 25-year-old. “And then I realised it had to be glamorous because, well, Dubai is glamorous. It’s all about red carpets, VIPs and diamonds.

“That brought me to vintage Hollywood and these actresses are the most identifiable from back then – they are fabulous subjects to explore.”

Burrows will take the stage dressed as three different characters – Garland’s pigtailed and pinafore-clad Dorothy in the The Wizard of Oz(1939); Hepburn’s Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), complete with the signature black dress, gloves and tiara; and as Monroe’s The Girl in the famous white cocktail dress and curly blonde wig from The Seven Year Itch (1955).

The untold stories

“It is interesting that they are all such different women from different generations and yet there is this connection between them,” says Burrows, who has a master’s degree in musical theatre from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in the ­United Kingdom.

“Judy Garland’s story is tragic in terms of her struggles with addiction and her marriages. It is very similar to the life of Marilyn Monroe, which I found fascinating. Hepburn had an altogether happier life. But it was nice to learn more about her charity work with Unicef, which I will be focusing on in the show.”

Burrows says the musical will be a marriage of three forms of media – “live music with a pianist, then there is my script, which talks about the high and low points of their lives and then we also have a video projection”.

Screening during the performance will be original footage of interviews and home videos sourced from online Hollywood archives.

“I’ve got clips of Marilyn’s first TV appearance that no one knows about because she wasn’t famous at the time. I have other really cool black-and-white interviews as well as secret footage that will be a nice surprise for the audience.”

The music

Backed by Dubai-based pianist Stanislav Serdyuk, Burrows will sing nine songs from the actresses’ best-known movies, including Somewhere Over the Rainbow (The Wizard of Oz), Moon River from Breakfast at Tiffany’sand Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

“But my favourite has got to be Garland’s The Trolley Song from Meet Me in St Louis. It is about love at first sight when you are 17 years old. It is very innocent and excitable and a lot of fun to perform.”Read more at:Graduation Dresses