In many countries abroad, festivals are celebrated where people step into alternate realities. Costumes, makeovers and fairytale venues are used to transform everyday lives into temporary fantasies. These celebrations, although transient, are excellent ways to escape mundane routines and indulge in some make-believe. In Bangladesh, such opportunities are few and far between, but a certain amount of ingenuity we can still afford. Join us this week as we give way to our imaginations and experiment with fanciful wild flowers and dreamy make-up. Join us as we celebrate the whimsical spirit.
Lend a touch of whimsy to your look!
Spring, the queen of all seasons, has finally arrived in Dhaka with her magnificence and splendour after the cold winter that engulfed us in a shroud of mist and fog. Mother Nature is in a giving mood this year; the sun shines softly, there is a distinct nip in the air — colourful, luscious fruits and flowers galore everywhere. Pohela Falgun officially marks the first day of spring in our part of the world and is duly celebrated by the jovial Dhakaiites with enthusiasm and fervour, and this year was no different.
The colour yellow with its enduring association with spring reigned supreme this year too, with bright splashes of other happy colours such as orange, green, golden and vermillion, among many others. Flowers are worn in the hair and as jewellery. The merriment should continue even with spring almost a month old — there is no reason why one has to limit merriment to the first few days. Spring is considered to be the harbinger of new beginnings and mirth when nature leaves behind the ravages of winter and moves forward with vigour anew. There is an effortless, charming mirth in the air. You too can adopt this spirit and celebrate spring as long as it lasts!
Wearing flowers in hair is a long-standing tradition every Bengali woman holds dear. We love to adorn our luscious long locks with one of nature’s most wonderful creations whenever an occasion calls for it. For ages our braids, buns and plaits have been tastefully decorated with flowers such as roses, marigolds, strings of jasmine and tuberose. However, this spring you can try something different and be the object of everyone’s envy by wearing flowers in different, unusual ways on different occasions.
A Bengali woman prides herself on the neatness of her khopa, in which she tucks a rose or two, or coils strings of jasmine cautiously in her tight plait to prevent flyaways. You, being an innovative fashionista, can refuse to be generic and leave your locks loose instead of wearing them in constricting styles. Most of the trends in hairstyle and makeup this year are largely focused on attaining effortless elegance; a delightfully disordered outlook that is easy to achieve without much ado is desirable and chic. Tousle your locks with a hair diffuser and wear a garland of unusual flowers such as zinnias or carnations around your head like a flower child with a 70s vibe for the next bridal shower you attend. You can use a curling tong to curl the ends like the gorgeous island girl Sophie in the hit musical Mamma Mia. Or do a side part, and then attach a few sprigs of tea roses or rose buds on the alternate side with bobby pins. You can add ribbons or glittery twines to the garlands but leave them a trifle undone. Accessories such as acrylic butterflies or jewelled hair pins can also be added.
If you intend to put your hair up, then play around with the placement of flowers. Choose flowers such as dahlias, sunflowers or oversized roses and tuck them underneath the bun instead of the sides. Then coil a string of flower petals over the bun to elevate the updo. You can also try the half-up, half-down hairdo, where a few tendrils are left loose by the shoulder. In that case flowers can be worn on top, around the crown. A large flower such as gerbera can be complemented with two smaller flowers such as carnations on both sides to balance the shapes and worn like a hair band. Another idea could be to curl your hair in loose waves, twist sections of it by the sides starting from the forehead and secure with barrettes in the middle to the head. Then tuck medium-sized flowers in the twisted sections with a large one in the middle. A small, bejewelled butterfly or dragonfly hairpin cleverly placed among the flowers adds drama and will make you feel like Titania, the queen of fairies in Shakespeare’s The Midsummer Night’s Dream. The quirky, fanciful nature of these hairstyles makes them perfect for garden parties or ‘gaye holud’ ceremonies.
To highlight the bohemian, whimsical aspect of this look, your makeup should be subtle. Keep your skin dewy; a sheer compact or tinted moisturiser is more than enough. The natural glow of your skin should shine through. Use pale, iridescent eye shadows on the lids to catch and reflect light. Follow it with a single sweep of eyeliner — it can be teal, green or purple. Sweep lengthening mascara on your lashes to open up your eyes. You can use a white eye pencil on the lower rims of your eyes for an ethereal effect. Follow it up with a blusher in warm hues such as candy pink or peach, on the apples of your cheeks to attain an angelic glow. Lastly, bright, pretty colours such as fuchsia, rusty pink or tangerine can be worn on the lips to finish off the face beautifully.
The beauty of spring is incomparable and the gifts she bestows upon us during her tenure are abundant and genial. This season embrace the unique ways to bask in the glory of spring, be whimsical and fanciful and try some of these ideas. Heads will turn and you’re bound to be mistaken as one of those celestial, merry wanderers of the night!
Model: Tamanna and Risila
Wardrobe: Manick Banarasi
Make-up and styling: Farzana Shakil
Photo: Shahadat Hossain Shobuj