June 11, 2009

Terracotta Jewelry

I bought these from Aziz Supermarket, one of my favorite places to shop in Dhaka for its small, quirky stores. This would be simply elegant paired up with a white cotton sari. I just love the designs on the clay, burned to perfection. I think we should start a new trend to wear terracotta jewelry instead of all that gold at wedding parties!

[image: photo & styling by Labiba Ali]



June 9, 2009

Come away with me on a little rickshaw ride……

Do you remember those romantic rickshaw rides through the winding back alleys of Old Dhaka? Or, the day you bunked class to ride 3 on a rickshaw [one person on top] and feel the rain trickle down your cheeks? Well if you don’t, here is your chance to relive those rickshaw moments. These miniature rickshaws are from the collection of Shahnaz Yousuf [aka Shima Apa to many of us]. When I was at her place recently, I couldn’t resist not taking pictures of these little delights!

Whoever made the rickshaw in the first photograph below is a pure genius. Look at the little details – the handbrakes, the bell, the pedals, the tires, everything has been painstakingly duplicated from the original. You cannot but admire such dedicated craftsmanship! I am SO PROUD of my Bangladeshi artisans!

*Rickshaw Trivia:   1. rickshaws first came to Chittagong from Myanmar in 1919.   2. rickshaws came to Dhaka via Kolkata around 1930.   3. rickshaw ART varies from region – Dhaka rickshaws are more decorated, Chittagong & Comilla rickshaws are less so, while Sylheti rickshaws are rarely decorated.


[image: Shahnaz Yousuf, private collection; photo & styling by Labiba Ali]


May 31, 2009

Brass Accessories

These are no ordinary accessories. The round plate and the little box are make-up accessories that are used by the actors of Jatra [=bangladeshi opera]. The round plate is used to mix the make-up [face powder, rouge, etc.] and the little box is used to store the make-up itself. Look closely at the detailed carved designs – aren’t they gorgeous! It might take an artisan many hours just to make one piece. One day I would love to see how they actually carve the designs onto the brass [sadly, this craft is slowly dying out]. For now, I will just enjoy looking at them and their quiet beauty.

*These brass accessories were bought from Dhakeswari Temple in Old Dhaka. You can check out the post on Old Dhaka [May 24, 2009] to see a photograph of Dhakeswari Temple from the 1880s.


 [image: Labiba Ali, private collection; photo & styling by Labiba Ali]


May 16, 2009


[image: Cotheeka Jute Industry]

Aren’t these adorable? Perfect accessory for the upcoming scorching summer with built-in natural airconditioning for your lovely feet! And they are eco-friendly too as they are made of jute, a natural fiber. I found these while searching the internet for jute products. This particular pair was made by COTHEEKA JUTE INDUSTRY. Although jute sandals are common in BD (Bangladesh), I haven’t seen many Stateside. With saving the environment a top priority, these natural handmade products are ‘IN’!