Aneela makes Colombo see red!

By Nivedita Raitz von Frentz

High-spirited Bangladeshi designer Aneela Haque was recently in town on a whirlwind visit at the invitation of the Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce & Industries, Bangladesh. “It’s my second trip to Colombo and I’m really here to represent Bangladeshi heritage and be a brand ambassador for my country,” said Aneela who presented an electric show of her latest collection entitled “Deshi Colours” last week.

The models, all Sri Lankan, took the ramp in figure-flattering red, white and black creations, tunics with tapered ends, flowing sarees with wondrously scripted designs, strongly influenced by Bengali romantic poets, French graphics and Egyptian hieroglyphics. Aneela refers to her collection as “Red”, symbolising “power, victory, freedom, indomitable spirit, positivity, perseverance, sacrifice and a love of humankind”.

A fashion show veteran (she is a regular at the Bridal Asia fashion show, popular with sub-continental designers), Aneela is a firm advocate of the numerous fashion week events mushrooming around the world.

Aneela completed a fine arts degree from Stephens College Missouri, USA, and spent a summer at the Paris branch of the Parsons School of Design. Working as a freelance brand identity consultant in Dhaka for some years, Aneela formed her own advertising firm in the mid 90s, with the buffers of event management and PR. Her own brand line AnDes (Aneela Design) came into being in 1995.

Graphic design and unusual scripts on fabric make the Aneela brand identity incredibly strong. Substantial training is involved and Aneela is somewhat peeved at the theft of some of her block-cut designs; now, all work is done in-house.

Extensive travel has had a deep impact on her take on design evolution. Urdu and Bengali music and poetry feature prominently in her daily life. “I’ve transposed my travel experience, romance and poetry onto fabric,” she says. Juggling fashion with advertising, she still squeezes in interior designing and, folks beware, she is also a karate black belt!

A huge fan of internationally acclaimed Bangladeshi Nobel Laureate, Professor Muhammad Yunus, Aneela is proud to have had a long-standing professional association with him. Upon receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for micro-credit, Yunus appointed Aneela to design the Nobel Peace Prize Exhibition and Museum, which was completed a couple of years ago.

Talent simply oozes out of the petite uncrowned brand queen of Bangladesh, who believes in “thinking positively, living for the present moment and dressing to kill!”

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