It’s been such a long time since I’ve posted a vlog – I’ve been so busy the past few months with work, kids and taking classes (details and announcement about that soon!). Last night, we went to see Duran Duran at the Verizon Center in DC. It was nice to take a break and go down memory lane with all their songs from the 80’s and 90’s (even enjoyed a few of their new songs including “Paper Gods”). Here’s some footage of last night’s show including their greatest hits:
In 2006, I designed a collection of dresses and tops inspired by the tribal embroideries of Afghanistan. Ten years later, the designs still look fresh and wearable. This black and white patchwork embroidery dress is one of my favorite dresses I designed. It’s one of a kind and when I wore it to an event at the National Gallery yesterday, I was stopped by at least three women who asked me where they could buy it. When I was designing clothes then, it was before the era of Pinterest and Instagram and Facebook (I feel like a dinosaur). It was harder to find a market for such specialized looks to make the collections financially sustainable. If I had designed this collection today, it definitely would have a wider reach because of social media. Even though I am working in the beauty industry now, I always consider myself a designer and plan on designing one of a kind pieces in parallel to my work (I’ve got some ideas- stay tuned)!
December 30th, 2015 – We went to NYC for a few days and just got back last night. The weather wasn’t that cold but it was gloomy and rainy which can be expected this time of the year. I love going to NYC every few months – it gives me a boost of energy and inspiration my soul needs!
This is a day in my life from wearing PJ’s in the morning while taking care of three kids to training hair stylists at my salon FLOW Blow Dry & Beauty Bar! It’s a behind-the-scenes look at running a salon – it isn’t always glam!
November 30th – 2015 – Here’s my first official VLOG (video blog) of many more to come! I filmed this one quickly today while the boys were taking a nap. Hope it’s not boring! Don’t know why it cut out the way it did at the end, though- sorry!! To get more “Beauty and the East”, subscribe to my YouTube channel: samiraatash and follow me on IG/FB: @samiraatash
I’d like to explore the positive influences the East has contributed to the West and remember a time when the two borrowed from and exchanged ideas with each other. An area that fascinates me is the historical influence of Eastern fashion on the West. Did you know that the West adopted the idea of buttons from the East? In the early Medieval period, European clothing was normally secured with brooches, pins, or laces (also known as points). Buttons were part of the Middle Eastern and Central Asian tradition of coats from an early date.
The Moors wore long gown with buttons, but buttons were not adopted by the Spaniards until later. Buttons can also be seen in a Moorish ceiling painting in the Alhambra (c. 1354). By 1292, button making is one of the trades listed in a document from Paris, so by this date, buttons were beginning to come in to use in France at least.
The sixteenth century was a period in which in both war and commerce the Ottomans were a crucial issue for the European powers. Henry VIII is known to have been taken with Turkish dress. He appeared dressed as a Turkish Sultan as part of a masquerade at an English court. Toward the end of his reign in 1542, Henry VIII posed for a portrait that is a striking comparison (apart from headgear) to that of his contemporary, Süleyman the Magnificent, but because of the pose even more dramatically resembles that of a later sixteenth-century sultan, Mehmed III.
On sixteenth century European coats, rows of horizontal bands form distinctive closures not previously seen in European fashion. Comparable examples can be seen on kaftans from the late 15th century in the Topkapi collections. The Turkish examples use an applied flat silk braid joining the fronts with a button and loop; Henry’s more ostentatious Mannerist version is created in bejeweled gold, but braid equivalents were also being used. This type of closure first appears in European dress in the first half of the sixteenth century, and would become a staple of European fashion, particularly associated with military or ceremonial dress.
However, it does not only appear as a closure on men’s coats. A portrait of Elizabeth I c. 1575 has a bodice closed with bands of decorative braid. When trade negotiations were concluded in 1581 between the Ottoman Empire and the English, the exchange of royal gifts included an entire ensemble of Turkish clothing sent by Sultan Murad to Elizabeth.
If you know vintage fashion, then you’ve definitely seen the Afghan coat, one of the biggest fashion trends of the late 60’s and 70’s. Made out of sheep or goat skin on the outside and soft fleece on the inside, the coats were embroidered with fine silk thread in different floral or geometric patterns. It made its first appearance in the West onto the London fashion scene in 1966, just as fashion was becoming more influenced by Eastern looks. Craigs Sams was an English entrepreneur who imported the coats from the Ghazni province and sold them to London boutiques including Granny Takes A Road Trip. One day, a band named The Beatles visited the shop and emerged wearing Afghan coats. Once they were photographed in them, it set off a worldwide trend that continued through the 70’s (even today, you can see variations of this boho-chic coat on the runway and the streets). The coats were so popular that rockers David Bowie and Eric Buron wore them on their wedding day.
John Lennon wearing an Afghan coat (now in the Julian Lennon collection)