Bangladeshi designer and acclaimed former model, Bibi Russell, launches her collection in Bengaluru for the first time
The show was curated by fashion guru Prasad Bidapa
As a model twirled her outfit, a Bibi Russell one, the Bangladeshi designer rushed to her saying, “It’s not a gown, darling” and corrected the way the dress should be carried. Russell, who is UNESCO’s Artist of Peace, was in the city to showcase her collection at a fashion show recently. The show was curated by fashion guru Prasad Bidapa.
During the show, models walked in wearing her collection in hues of green and red, setting the mood for the evening. The designer gave a modern spin to the humble handspun fabric. Although well-connected to the city through many close friends and well-wishers, it turned out to be the first time Russell’s designs were going to be available here. “I am not here to do business. And I am so happy everyone is leading a sustainable life and going for such options. I felt this was the right time to come in,” says Russell, an internationally-acclaimed former model.
In 1975, Russell earned her degree in fashion from London College of Fashion, and worked with many prominent names in the industry. She has been associated with international names like Yves Saint Laurent, Kenzo, Karl Lagerfeld and Giorgio Armani. “These facts could be hard to believe because of my simple living and the simple clothes I wear,” laughs Russell, adding that she returned to Dhaka in 1994 to set up fashion studio Bibi Productions, where she worked with weavers directly. “I had many offers but you see, I came back. I stayed in London but I wanted people to choose sustainable options. I don’t believe that fashion is for one class,” says Russell.
Russell had her first European fashion show in Paris, in 1996. “I decided to support the weavers of Bangladesh right from my first collection. It was supported by UNESCO and was held at their headquarters,” says the 72-year-old, who showcased quintessential ‘Indian gamucha’ at the fashion show then. While speaking to Russell, it is hard to miss her signature round-framed spectacles with flower art on the frames. “These are powered glasses and the art on the frames are designed by me, inspired by the rickshaws and trucks in Bangladesh. They are so arty and beautiful,” smiles Russell, adding that a lot of her prints are inspired from these artworks.