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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

Levittown Hall in Hicksville comes alive every Thursday night with music, dance, fun and laughter as students are swept away into the world of Latin dance.

Under the instruction of professional teacher Mark James, dance hopefuls learn a trio of Latin dance, including salsa, meringue and what James describes as the biggest craze in Latin dancing today, bachata.

 book shops in Hicksville and around the country will hand out free comics on Oct. 25, to celebrate the second biggest free comic book event of the year—Halloween ComicFest. On Saturday, anyone who goes into a participating comic shop can choose from 19 free comics and participate in fun activities comic shops host for their customers to enjoy, while discovering new types of comics and the treasures found in store.

In Hicksville, both Game Master Games (954 S. Broadway) and Amok Time (108C New South Road) will be taking part in the Halloween ComicFest festivities. Game Master Games just recently started carrying comic books and this will be the store’s first comic book-related event. Coincidently, the event runs in the middle of an in-store gaming convention, and store owner Dave VanderWerf is looking forward to the increased exposure for the store.


Sports

The Hicksville girls volleyball team improved to 7-1 by knocking off Oceanside in three consecutive sets by scores of 25-13, 25-19 and 25-14.

Emily Markakis played terrificly, using a powerful serve to record three aces, seven kills and added nine digs. Nikki Chase added six kills and eight digs. Additionally, Raeann Dong was versatile—recording three aces, seven kills and nine digs.

The Girls Varsity soccer team, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, wore pink uniforms and pink socks in their game on Oct. 8 against MacArthur whom they defeated 1-0. The girls and boys soccer programs at Hicksville High School are selling pink ribbon car magnets with a soccer ball and HHS on it with the words “Kick Cancer” on the ribbon. All the money raised will go to the Sarah Grace Foundation, which is a local foundation trying to beat pediatric cancer. The players plan to raise $1,000 for this organization

— From Hicksville High School


Calendar

Board of Education Meeting

October 22

Oktoberfest

October 25-26

Pancake Breakfast

October 26



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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