Azmeri Haque Badhon, star of ‘Rehana Maryam Noor’, has grabbed the spotlight on the red carpet in her jamdani saree and silver jewellery, designed and styled by fashion giant Aarong, during the world premiere of the film at the 74th Cannes Film Festival.
‘Rehana Maryam Noor’ is only the second-ever Bangladeshi film to have premiered at Cannes.
The saree, worn by Badhon, was a 100 thread-count beige-olive half-silk jamdani saree adorned by golden ‘jori’ thread, according to a press release.
It takes nearly 90 days to craft one jamdani saree of this quality by handloom artisans based near Sonargaon. The attire was accessorised with handcrafted silver jewellery, the highlight of which was an ornate stone-studded silver choker extending onto the back of the actor’s blouse.
“Azmery Haque Badhon has made Bangladesh proud by elegantly representing our jamdani heritage on the red carpet. We are thrilled about the attention and interest it has brought to the craft and to have supported Ms Badhon on her journey to Cannes,” said Ms Tamara Hasan Abed, Managing Director, Aarong, a social enterprise of BRAC.
Aarong has historically played a significant role in preserving, promoting and sustaining jamdani craft by holding exhibitions, fashion shows, and supporting research through the decades.
Most recently, at the Jamdani Festival 2019, held in collaboration with several partners, 200 by 200 thread count khadi cotton jamdanis were produced for the first time in over a century.
“I have always dreamed about wearing an Aarong jamdani one day at a special event. After reaching out to Aarong about my participation at Cannes, they shared their idea [about my possible wardrobe styling] and the saree, I did not have any doubt that this is what I would wear on the red carpet. I am grateful to everyone at Aarong who had worked relentlessly on a tight timeline to put this together,” said actor Badhon.
Jamdani is a fine muslin textile craft on which specific floral motifs are famously hand woven to make high-end sarees and other women’s and men’s apparel, home textiles and accessories.
The art of jamdani refers to the specific weaving pattern crafted by skilled handloom artisans and has been practised for centuries in Bengal. It has also been recognised as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage craft in 2013.
Much of the jamdani motif designs are weaved by artisans from memory and have been passed down through the generations. Aarong has worked towards documenting these motifs and promoting a resurgence of the craft.
Aarong, established in 1978, is a social enterprise of BRAC, the world’s largest non-governmental development organisation. Today, Aarong works with over 65,000 artisans in Bangladesh to provide market access to marginalised craftspeople, especially women, and to uphold the rich craft heritage of the country. Aarong has 22 retail outlets throughout the country and provides international delivery to the US, UK and Australia through aarong.com, its e-commerce platform.