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Before sunrise, accompanied by a congregation of monkeys, we climbed to a high hill-top temple and soaked in a stunning view of Pushkar, India.  From this height, we could see a white city flanking a central lake, and out from that navel, miles of famous Pushkar roses in bloom, readied for incense, perfume, oils, cooking, romance. 

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That was ten years ago. I had no idea that women one day would be embroidering dresses for Ibu in the same Pushkar light. The Layla Dress is named after the widely beloved story of Layla and Majnun, two young lovers who were not allowed to marry. Majnun went mad with love and took to the desert to live with animals and write poetry, while Layla was forced to marry a tepid man and died of heartbreak. Majnun found her grave and carved his poetry to her upon it before going to consummate their love in death.

Eric Clapton pined like a mad man for Patty Boyd, wife of his friend, Beatle’s George Harrison, and penned the the classic Layla, called one of the best rock songs of all times, as an ode to her and a nod to the story:  Let's make the best of the situation, before I finally go insane. Please don't say I'll never find a way, and tell me all my love's in vain. Layla, you've got me on my knees.

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Ali MacGraw was featured on the cover of Time Magazine in 1971, recognizing her tremendous popularity as The Return to Romance. Her embroidered peasant blouses, nostalgic chokers, her starring role in a movie that swept the world with it’s tearful love story. . . all of this created an iconic romantic style for which she is still celebrated.

And we are celebrating it here in her new collection of ali4ibu. Romance is here in the Layla Dress from Pushkar, and the crisp white Samia Dress as well. You can practically smell the sun rising on roses, the salutation of monkeys, the temples to love.

Meanwhile, the women of Pushkar are finding a new romance to their own lives.  I hope, some morning in spring, one will walk to the temple at sunrise and see the beauty of her white city and its fragrant roses, her creative work and healthy income, her choices in bud, her spirit blooming.

All the Best,
Susan Hull Walker