Winter time is wedding season in Bangladesh. They are easy to spot: huge strings of lights in front of houses and hotels throughout the city. My former student, fashion designer Aneeta Azad invited me to a friends wedding two weeks ago. Her email said that the reception was going to be very colorful and festive. Bengali wedding are elaborate affairs that involve four or five days.
The above photo is not a political rally. It’s the grooms extended family arriving for the festivities. What made this wedding extra special was that the grooms mom is Bibi Russell, the Lauren Hutton of Bangladesh. Bibi was a former model working with Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar in Europe during the eighties. She studied at the London School of Fashion and is a one woman global ambassador for the woman weavers of Bangladesh. Bibi describes her work – which has been recognized by UNESCO- as fashion for development. “People in the fashion industry think it is about expensive things. My saree cost three dollars. Fashion is about culture. You have to know how to wear it. Village woman who have not eaten for two days still cover themselves gracefully. Fashion dosen’t mean items costing five hundred dollars.”