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Down To The Very Thread

Vastra boutique finds a niche

in hand-embroidered dresses

Who says a bride has to wear white on her wedding day? For South Asian brides, no color is off limits including brilliant reds, blues and golds. For the past 17 years, Vastra in Hicksville has been helping brides from New York and across the country find the perfect dress for their special day.

There’s no lack of Indian sari boutiques in Hicksville but according to Marketing Director Prachi Jain, what sets Vastra apart from the others is its emphasis on one of a kind, hand-embroidered Indian dresses.

When a bride comes in, they can either peruse through one of the 85 dresses Vastra has in-house or work with the owner Poonam Jain (Prachi’s mother) to come up with a one-of-a-kind design. Brides can choose every single detail, including the color, fabric, beading and pattern.

“It helps the bride have a say in the dress down to the very thread. Brides can take control of the whole process,” says Prachi. “They love the hand-embroidery because it gives them a lot more control over the dress. When you pick something up at the store, you have to deal with the designs, but with a hand-crafted custom dress, you can choose every layer of the embroidery.”

The dress design is then sent to Vastra’s 30 person factory in New Delhi where it takes anywhere from three to six months to complete. During that time, brides can Skype to check up on the progress of their dress.

Brides make up 70 percent of Vastra’s clientele and while for a long time they were strictly of Indian or South Asian origin, there’s been a huge increase recently in American brides.

“We have a lot more brides who are marrying into Indian families,” says Prachi. “A lot of them know what they want, but if they don’t we guide them as to what they should wear and the customs and rituals.”

Brides often opt for Indian dresses such as lehengas or saris for the day of the wedding and anarkalis and patialas for other ceremonies. Bridesmaids are often outfitted in salwars. Because an Indian wedding typically consists of several ceremonies over a few days, a bride will often leave Vastra with three dresses for herself, plus one or two for each of her bridesmaids (the average is 11 dresses per bridal party). Bridesmaids’ dresses generally range from $250 to $800 each and the bride’s dresses can range from $1,500 and up.

But for Poonam, the brides and their families are more than just customers, they become friends. Since opening her store in 1989, Poonam has formed a close bond with many of her clients who have come back time and time again, attending their weddings, sweet 16s and other functions.

“The customers don’t just come in and go out, but we get to know them one on one. We develop a strong relationship with the client because we spend a lot of time with them,” says Prachi. “They’re not just customers but friends.”

Vastra is located at 17 E. Old Country Rd, Hicksville in the Delco Plaza Shopping Center. For more information visit www.vastrahicksville.com or call 516-433-7724.

News

Rhea Manjrekar traded in her running shoes and track shorts for high heels and an evening gown recently, as she participated in the Miss Teen India New York pageant. The 15-year-old from Hicksville snagged the title of first-runner up, and will be competing for the national title in December. 

 

This was Manjrekar’s first time competing in a pageant. But she started out with major doubts about even participating. 

 

 “At first, I didn’t want to do it. I have extreme stage fright. My mom told me to try it out because she thought it would boost my confidence and look good on my college applications, so I went for the practice,” Manjrekar said. “The girls were so nice. I thought I wouldn’t fit in but I made friends immediately so I decided to do it.” 

The parking lot of Sears in Hicksville transformed into a sea of cars this past Saturday as part of the ninth annual Long Island Cruizin’ For A Cure Car Show. 

 

The show, which was founded by Jericho prostate cancer survivor Sandy Kane, is the only car show on Long Island dedicated to raising funds for research, testing and also education for early detection of prostate cancer. The all-volunteer car show usually draws around 4,000 attendees. It features 600 cars, trucks, motorcycles and more; a perfect day for car enthusiasts and the like.


Sports

This November, Hicksville resident Marlo Signoracci will head to Florida for Ironman, a demanding, long-distance triathlon that includes biking, running and swimming. Here, she shares her story as she prepares for one of the most physically challenging athletic events out there.

 

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you! 

At 6 a.m. on a blustery Saturday morning 1,600 people arrived at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park to participate in the 27th annual Runner’s Edge Tobay triathlon and tri- relay race. The participants were from all over Long Island, some from upstate NY, a few from out of state and were all ages and some even with disabilities but all came with one goal in mind, to finish.

The course starts out as a half mile swim in Oyster Bay Harbor, then a 9.3 mile bike ride through Oyster Bay, Laurel Hollow, and Cove neck which is very hilly but finishes with a 2.9 mile downhill to the finish. Then the riders have one more leg of the race which is 3.2 mile run through Mill Neck and Brookville, up to Planting Fields Arboretum and back down to Roosevelt Park to the finish line.


Calendar

Board of Ed Meeting - September 17

Back To School Night - September 18

Pasta Dinner Fundraiser - September 20


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com