My fashionistas, wish you all a very happy Durga Puja if you are celebrating, if you don’t, you can always share happiness and joy with others any time. Yes, over the years, religious festivals have found new meaning to my life- they are nothing but getting together with family, friends, eating good food and most importantly, dress up in your trendiest and newest outfit. Dressing up? Oh! Then I’m ‘in’- religious festival or not.
It feels just the other day when as a child, during this festival, I used to count in my fingertips how many dresses I was gifted by family and relatives, whether I have enough outfits to change twice a day for all five days of the festival. Time has changed! I don’t receive gifts (food, yes!) anymore. In fact my family won’t dare to buy me a gift fearing I might not like it and never wear. They are always welcome to gift me cash and credit cards;) Although I don’t have an outfit particularly bought for Durga Puja (It’s a story for another day that in the recent years, I get to wear new outfit at least twice a week, if not more) but that won’t stop me sharing my Durga Puja Shaj (Look) with you all!
What is Durga Puja? I love being Bengali for a lot of reasons, but one of my favorites is that the main festival celebrated in the state of Bengal is a festival that honors the Mother Goddess. Durga Puja celebrates the victory of the revered warrior Goddess Durga (the divine female power of which all other goddesses are an incarnation) over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura.
When is it? Durga Puja is celebrated during the last five days of Navaratri and Dussehra. This year, Durga Puja takes place from September 29-October 4. The Grand immersion of Durga idols will happen on October 4, 2014. The dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar. Therefore, we are not given the choice to select any weekends and celebrate to the fullest. For most of us living abroad, Puja Pandal visits will be made straight away from work, some in office attire, some will go home for a quick change (only if you live nearby) and then arrive fashionably late. So, I have just made some adjustments for you all- put up my Puja look together and had the photo shoot over the weekend before.
Although the festival last five days but I will be able to take part in only three days- Saptami, Ashtami and Navami, thanks to work and other commitments. To start with Saptami(Saptami is Sanskrit for Seven- it is the 7th day of Navaratri) look, I have opted for a simple yet elegant, traditional yet sensuous look in my own creation- this orange chiffon saree with three tier gold beaded border and a purple velvet blouse with matching gold beaded border front detail and a deep low cut back detail with jewelled strings. Autumn-winter is all about oranges and purples for me. Durga Puja, being a festival celebrated in Autumn serves as the right occasion to stock up these colors individually or a combination of the two. This entire look is designed, created, conceptualized and of course, donned by me. Fabrics and materials are outsourced from India.
Chiffon sarees have always seduced me. They are slimming, give definition to your curves and flattering for fashionistas blessed with good height. So, styling my own designed saree was easy without putting much pressure on the pocket. I had hand-picked couple pieces of unique statement jewelry to glamorize the look e.g. A Kamarbandh(waist band). So, this Durga Puja, looking traditional yet sensuous with the most seductive ornament- a Kamarbandh(Waist band) originated from Indian royal tradition tops my priority list. A royal princess inspired kundan ring have perfectly complimented the pearl and kundan Kamarbandh. As I have heavily ornamented the bottom, I wanted to go light with jewellery on top- so no necklace but this purple swarovski chain tassel earrings have been worn to match the blouse. A diamanté stilettos and a multi-color beaded envelope clutch have been added to complete this look.
For hair-do, a side swept soft curls allowed me to flaunt the deep cut blouse on the back. It looks simple and sober. I wanted a smokey-eye with this saree using only one type of eye-shadow. Naturally, purple was the choice as it is seen to be the perfect shade for people with black or brown eyes. Using purple for a smokey eye is apt for a day-to-night look. Black eye-shadow for a smokey-eye is more appropriate to use for evening-do. In my world, if you are wearing a saree or salwar kameez, you cannot go without makeup, I always make sure I never leave the lips and eyes. So, coral is the color of the lipstick that would look perfect with this look, I reckon, with a dash of sheer lipgloss in the centre of the lower lips.
Top tip: Bring an admixture of tradition and modernity to your look by teaming up traditional accessories with modern outfits e.g. backless blouse, Kamarbandh, arm band, see-through sarees, Matha-patti etc.
Saptami Look is all about subtlety and sensuousness, Ashtami and Navami look will be all about bold color sarees and traditional Indian jewelleries.
Stay tuned, stay stunned!
Three Tier Gold Leaf Chiffon Saree by Tanusree
Kamarbandh from an Independent Jeweler in Bardhan Market, Kolkata
Ring from an Independent Jeweler Bradhan Market, Kolkata
Primark Beaded Envelope Clutch
Diamonté Golden Stilletos from Almas Dhaka