Fashion power house Gucci launched its 4th annual Campaign to Benefit UNICEF on 19th November 2008. Gucci’s creative director Frida Gianni has designed the exclusive “Tattoo Heart” collection in support of UNICEF’s life-saving initiative for children affected by HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.

The all-white collection features a stylised heart tattoo with iconic Gucci symbols on a range on accessories. Gucci will donate 25% of the proceeds from the collection in Gucci stores in over 20 countries from November 19th 2008 till January 31st 2009.

Gucci Tattoo Heart Collection

Gucci Tattoo Heart Collection

Gucci has been raising funds for UNICEF since 2004. Past campaigns have helped UNICEF’s programs in Malawi and Mozambique, where  the HIV/AIDS pandemic has orphaned over one million children.

Grammy winning Barbados-born singer Rihanna is the global representative of the campaign and is featured in Gucci’s UNICEF 2009 Holiday ad’s. She is looking uber-chic in the ad’s that launched just this month.



The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry celebrated it’s 50th anniversary last month with a three-day international business conference. DCCI organised a light and sound show along with a fashion show depicting the changes in couture and heritage of Dhaka city over 400 years at the historic Lalbagh fort. I attended the event anticipating a grandiose show. The Lalbagh fort looked amazing illuminated by lights everywhere.




The fashion show was started off by Tootli Rahman depicting the fashion during the Mughal era. The Mughal rule is considered a ‘golden age’ of textile crafts in the Sub-continent. To say that Tootli Rahman’s collection was a disappointment would be an understatement. Her clothes lacked the finesse, luxury and intricate detailing of the Mughal era. She failed to revive the vintage glamor of the Mughals and instead showcased badly tailored clothes that were mismatched.

Next was Kuhu Plamondon’s collection depicting fashion during the British Raj. Kuhu’s collection showcased the influence of British fashion on traditional Bengali clothing. Men wore jackets with dhoti pajama’s and carried top hats with their kurta’s. The use of lace, ruffles and pleats in sarees were evident of the influence of the dresses worn by the British women. Kuhu was able to reflect the colonial heritage of Dhaka fashion in her collection. I came away impressed.

Emdad Hoque’s collection illustrated the influence on fashion during the independence movement of India and the emancipation of Bangladesh from Pakistan. Models walked the ramp dressed in the colours of Bangladesh. Patriotic slogans in bangla were printed onto the clothes. Sarees in black and write paid tribute to the martyrs of the Balngladesh language movement. Emdad Hoque used traditional hand loom fabrics in cotton and khadi. His collection captured the essence of the revolutionary era. His collection of Jamdani sarees were also very nice, although the pairing of turbans with sarees was not very original (Bibi Russell had done that in the past) and seemed a little out of context to me.

The finale showcased Bibi Russells futuristic collection. Her collection contained beautiful Jamdani sarees and traditional hand loom fabrics in western silhouettes. Some of the clothes featured pathwork in various grameen checks. Models walked the ramp wearing fun accessories made from beads and dry flowers. Her eclectic designs were original and in true Bibi style- fabulous!

The photos were taken by a young dynamic photographer, my friend-Salman Saeed.

Doll by Moschino

Doll by Moschino

World’s top fashion designers are creating a series of dolls to help raise funds for UNICEF’s vaccination program for the children of Darfur. The program gives money to centers that are dedicated to vaccinating children under five years old against the six most deadly childhood diseases.

The participating designers include BCBG Max Azria, Carolina Herrera, Chanel, Christian Dior, Chistian Lacroix, Dolce and Gabbana, Dries van Noten, Emanuel Ungaro, Emilio Pucci, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Jean-paul Gaultier, Lanvin, Louis Vuitton, Moschino, Nina Ricci, Oscar de la Renta, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Sonia Rykiel, Stella McCartney, Versacr and Yves Saint Laurent among others.

These one-of-a-kind Raggedy Anne type dolls will be featured in an exhibition called “sweet face” at the Petit Palais in Paris which will run from November 18th to the 23rd, 2008- organized by UNICEF France. The designer dolls will then be sold at auction, either on the internet, or on November 27th at Drouot Montaigne- Paris’s prestigious auction house. All proceeds from the sale will go to UNICEF. (more…)

Asia’s most anticipated bridal couture extravaganza Bridal Asia celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. Some of Asia’s leading designers showcased their bridal collections on the 4th and 5th of October at the Hyatt Regency in New Delhi. Celebrated Bangladeshi designer Maheen Khan showcased her bridal couture, representing sub-continental fashion. Her collections included Jamdani sarees in this season’s citrus colours with intricate zari work and A-line empire-waisted qameezes worn with skinny churidaars. I absolutely loved the bright colour palette and the easy fluid shapes which are very au courant. I applaud Maheen Khan for representing Bangladeshi fashion on a platform that has long been dominated by Indian designers. Its been high time!

Maheen Khan has her own design house in Bangladesh called ‘Mayasir’- that carries her clothing line for men, women and children including her jewelry and accessories collection.  She uses local materials for all her collections. Mayasir is located at House-26, Road-127, Gulshan Avenue Dhaka.

Dutch designer duo Viktor & Rolf premiered their S/S 2009 collection on October 2nd via their website. They moved their runway to the virtual world and made it available for everyone to see. Guests can get ‘backstage’ access as well as the opportunity to peek into virtual fittings.The entire collection was modeled by only one model-Shalom Harlow and was filmed using multiple cameras from various angles.

Viktor & Rolf broke the tradition of showcasing high fashion only through live shows.You can focus on details that can’t be seen even from front row seats at a live show. The camera zoomed in on details and accessories such as the seams on a pair of coral shorts, the enamel embellishments on a dress and shoes- fantastic and sky-high. I’m absolutely ecstatic that the collection has been made available to the masses and not the handful of industry insiders, celebrities and the fashion press.

A bold flame motif dominated the jewelry, eye-makeup and color scheme of some of the clothes. The collection featured couture dresses embroidered with 20,000 large swarovski crystals in various colours. The dresses took over 10-weeks to be created and weigh over 10 kg each.

This virtual fashion show has been applauded by audiences and fashion critiques all over the world. Now that the fashion industry has started to explore the many oppotunities of the digital world, live shows might just become obsolete in the near future.

I watched the documentary Darfur Now over the weekend and it left an indelible impression on me. I greatly admire George Clooney for raising his voice against the ongoing crisis in Darfur. In 2006, Clooney and his journalist father smuggled cameras into the refugee camps in Darfur to film this documentary.

I went online to gather more information about the Darfur genocide and ways to help stop it. During my research, I found an interesting connection to fashion. I learned from an article that fashion conglomerate Louis Vuitton has filed a lawsuit against a student artist for copyright infringement over her Simple Living campaign, a fundraiser for the victims of Darfur.

Nadia Plesner has designed posters and t-shirts dressing up a Darfur victim with a chihuahua and a Louis Vuitton inspired bag. The drawings are a mockery of the Paris Hilton-esque images that flood the media today. The artist said that the media has a distorted way of prioritizing between big and small world news, so she decided to use a recognizable image to bring attention to the tragedies in Darfur. All proceeds from the sale of the items go to the Divest for Darfur organisation.

Darfur- a region in the west of Sudan-home to 6 million Muslims of African descent has long been ruled by  fundamentalist Islamic leaders who believe that only those born of Arab descent are “pure Muslims”. People from this region are being systematically displaced and murdered by the Janjaweed- a government supported militia recruited from local Arab tribes. The genocide in Darfur has clamied 400,000 lives and displaced over 2,500,000 people since 2003. The U.N. calls the genocide in Sudan today’s greatest humanatarian crisis.

I think that Louis Vuitton is acting a bit too harsh considering that the images are being used for a good cause. I am firmly against copyright infringements and support L.V’s right to protect its image and designs but I feel that this particular case calls for some concession.

What do you think?










An icon of the Bangladesh Fashion industry, Bibi Russell has single-handedly put Bangladesh on the global fashion map. Her commitment to the development and welfare of Bangladeshi weavers and support for the traditional crafts has been acclaimed world wide.

Bibi Russell graduated from the London College of Fashion and at her graduate show, was discovered by Harper’s Bazaar as a model. She became one of the most sought-after models of the 70’s and 80’s working with Chanel,Yves Saint Laurent,Valentino and Armani among others.

Bibi Russell has rediscovered the ancient craft of hand-weaving and helped the traditional handloom weavers gain international exposure and sustainable income.In 1995 she founded the company “Bibi Productions”. Her work provides a platform for over 35,000 weavers and artisans all over Bangladesh to utilize their talents. Bibi works with materials like cotton, khadi, silk, jamdani and jute. In the recent years, she has been experimenting with crochet in her designs. She does a spring-summer and fall-winter collection each year and exports to Europe and Scandinavia. Her collections – under the tag line ‘Fashion for Development and Positive Bangladesh’ promotes Bangladeshi fabrics and handicrafts for domestic and international markets. (more…)